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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - November 17, 2014

Don't forget to check out CruisePage.com, the Internet's largest cruise database. With over 11,000 cruise itineraries and over 300 ship profiles, CruisePage.com is the perfect tool to help you find and book the perfect cruise.

NCLH Completes Acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. this week announced it has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc. ("Prestige"), the market leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt.

NCLH Completes Acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc.With this acquisition, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. operates a portfolio of brands that span all market segments in the cruise industry, from contemporary to upper-premium to luxury. Each brand offers differentiated experiences in their respective segments. The Norwegian Cruise Line brand provides the freedom and flexibility of a resort-style vacation on board some of the most innovative ships in the industry with its unique Freestyle Cruising proposition. Oceania Cruises offers an upper premium experience with the finest cuisine at sea on its fleet of mid-sized ships, while Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three award-winning, all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016.

Commenting on the closing of the acquisition, Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., said, "While for years we have competed successfully with our one brand in an increasingly consolidated industry, our acquisition of Prestige creates a new cruise operator with a range of complementary offerings as diversified as any in the industry. We now shift our focus from planning for the successful integration of these organizations to the implementation phase, with an organizational structure that allows for the realization of significant synergies while maintaining the integrity of the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands that have made each a success in their respective segment."

Frank Del Rio, chief executive officer of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc., commented, "We're excited to officially join the Norwegian family and ready to begin this next chapter as one united company. Together, we will further our brands' position as leaders in the upper-premium and luxury cruise markets by continuing to deliver an exceptional onboard experience for our guests, and expand the reach of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises throughout the world."

Celebrity Introduces River-and-Ocean Cruise Vacations
On the heels of the successful launch of "Celebrity Explorations" – unique vacations that pair ocean cruises with rich destination experiences on land – is the introduction of European river-and-ocean cruise vacation packages. Unique to the cruise industry and only available on Celebrity Cruises, these Celebrity Explorations combine immersive Amras Cruises river journeys with guest-favorite modern luxury ocean sailings.

Celebrity Introduces River-and-Ocean Cruise Vacations"Our guests want to continue seeing more of the world with Celebrity, and we are dedicated to providing them with the most destination-rich vacations," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "By introducing these river-and-ocean cruise packages, travelers can immerse themselves in Europe more so than ever before, with the ease of choosing a vacation package exclusively created by Celebrity."

The 11 new river-and-ocean cruise packages offer guests the opportunity to explore Europe far and wide by way of four well-known rivers – the Danube, Rhine, Rhône and Seine – and then by sea onboard a breathtaking Celebrity cruise around the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey and other destinations.

Ranging from 16 to 24 nights, Celebrity Explorations' river-and-ocean cruise packages include:
• Seven-night Amras Cruises river cruise, including gourmet dining; select beverages, featuring regional wine and beer; fully guided tours and excursions; Wi-Fi and more Dedicated Celebrity Cruises Destination Concierge to ensure a seamless and personalized river cruise experience
• Flights to a major European city near the ocean cruise port - Rome, Italy; London, England; Barcelona, Spain; Athens, Greece; or Istanbul, Turkey
• One- to two-night luxury hotel accommodations before embarking on the ocean cruise
• Convenient transfers from the airport to the hotel and the ocean cruise port
• Celebrity Cruises Classic Beverage Package, including wine and spirits

Each river cruise complements the signature luxuries Celebrity is known for at sea, from beautifully designed accommodations and impeccable service to distinctive dining experiences created by a James Beard-featured chef.

The European river-and-ocean cruise vacation packages offer 11 different combinations of six river cruises and nine distinct ocean sailings, including:

• Southern France Sonata with Greece & Turkey – A 16-night adventure that begins with a seven-night river cruise onboard Amadeus Symphony, through Southern France – including stops in Lyon, Viviers and Avignon – followed by two nights in Athens, Greece and seven nights visiting the gems of the Mediterranean aboard Celebrity Equinox

The 16-night journey departs Chalon-sur-Saone, France on July 2 and ends July 18, 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey.

• Danube Waltz with Spain & the Canary Islands– A twenty-night vacation to seven different countries starts aboard Amadeus Silver II for a river cruise visiting heritage sites of Budapest, Hungary; the Austrian shoreline and Wachau Valley; and historic German cities. Vacationers then fly to London, England for a two-night stay before meeting Celebrity Eclipse for an 11-night ocean cruise to the vibrant cities of Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal and the Canary Islands.

The 20-night journey departs Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 1 and ends Oct. 21, 2015, in Southampton, England.

• Classical Rhine with Caribbean Transatlantic – Vacationers can enjoy some of the most breathtaking cities in Europe, including immersive visits in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Cologne, Germany; and Strasbourg, France. The river cruise adventure onboard Amadeus Silver is followed by an overnight stay in Rome, Italy and a modern luxury ocean cruise vacation across the Atlantic Ocean on Celebrity’s newest ship, Celebrity Reflection, to St Kitts, St. Maarten and other idyllic islands of the Caribbean.

The 23-night journey departs Amsterdam on Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 7, 2015 in Miami, Fla.

• Seine Symphony with Israel & the Mediterranean – Guests can experience the French countryside in a new way by sailing aboard Amadeus Diamond and docking for tours of châteaus, centuries-old cathedrals, plus the beaches of Normandy. Travelers then spend a night docked in Paris, France and fly into Istanbul, Turkey to embark on a 12-night cruise aboard Celebrity Constellation to the historic cities of Haifa and Ashdod, Israel; Valletta, Malta; and Naples and Rome, Italy.

• The 20-night journey departs Paris on Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 4, 2015 in Rome, Italy.

Carnival Corporation to Launch First Ever Multi-Brand National Marketing Initiative
Carnival Corporation & plc , the world’s largest cruise company, today announced its first-ever multi-brand marketing initiative incorporating all nine of its leading global brands to drive increased awareness, consideration and demand for cruising as a great vacation option at an exceptional value. Targeting consumers who are new to cruising, the campaign will kick off on November 24 with several digital and social elements and will continue to ramp up through 2015.

Carnival Corporation to Launch First Ever Multi-Brand National Marketing InitiativeAs part of the marketing effort, Carnival Corporation will introduce the “World’s Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge” – an interactive crowdsourcing program in which CEO Arnold Donald and celebrity emcee Cedric the Entertainer ask consumers to “join the company’s marketing team” and pick their favorite TV ads from a selection of creative concepts, with the chance for one lucky participant to win a yearly cruise for life.

Carnival Corporation’s newly redesigned World’s Leading Cruise Lines website – WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com – will serve as the campaign hub. The new site will feature content from each of the company’s nine brands and also house new tools and functionality in support of the campaign.

The campaign elements are designed to educate consumers and especially non-cruisers on why cruising is an extraordinary vacation experience at an exceptional value. The campaign will help consumers understand how contemporary cruising has evolved, with grand cruise ships offering something for everyone and how common myths about cruising are untrue. The campaign will also encourage consumers to consult a travel agent as a valuable resource for planning a cruise vacation.

The goal of the marketing program is to help inspire consumers to consider cruising as one of their top options when planning vacations — and, ultimately, to grow demand for cruising. While cruising continues to grow in worldwide popularity, with nearly 22 million people expected to have taken cruises in 2014, only about 3.3 percent of people in North America in any given year go on a cruise – providing a significant marketing opportunity.

“Across our portfolio of nine brands and more than 100 cruise ships visiting over 700 destinations around the world, Carnival Corporation carries more than 10.5 million guests a year, accounting for one out of every two people who cruise anywhere in the world,” said Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald. “With so many distinctive experiences offered by our industry-leading brands, we truly believe the Carnival family has a cruise for everyone. Our job is to help people understand why cruising is such a great vacation, and to help them find which of our nine cruise brands is the right one for them.”

Donald added: “I’m asking consumers to join our marketing team and weigh in with a vote as well as give us their advice on our upcoming marketing efforts. In return we have an extraordinary giveaway – one lucky person will win a cruise a year for life! So we encourage people to go to WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com, and check out the advertising concepts. We like all of them but want help in choosing the best one. While on our site, we encourage people to also check out our CRUISE-A-NALITY tool. It’s a fun and easy way to find out which of our cruise brands is the best fit for their personality. Finding the right cruise brand to sail helps make sure people have a good experience, and we are excited that CRUISE-A-NALITY can help do just that.”

Carnival Corporation’s marketing initiative will include the following elements aimed at growing awareness, consideration and demand for cruising among consumers:

• The “World’s Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge”:Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and celebrity emcee Cedric the Entertainer will invite consumers to “join” the Carnival Corporation marketing team and help select creative elements for the marketing initiative. On WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com Mr. Donald will introduce six distinct advertising concepts and ask consumers to help further shape the stories, as well as vote for which ad concept does the best job of both dispelling misconceptions about cruising and bringing the cruise experience to life.

• CRUISE-A-NALITY:One aspect of WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com allows vacationers to find their “CRUISE-A-NALITY,” which is an interactive tool to help consumers find their individual cruise persona — type of cruiser based on likes and dislikes — from a total of 30 personas. After answering six simple questions, the CRUISE-A-NALITY tool provides consumers with their persona, cruise brand recommendations and links to find more information to begin planning their vacation – with a reminder to contact their travel agent for additional guidance on which cruise is right for them. Once visitors know their CRUISE-A-NALITY, they are encouraged to call their travel agent as well as share their results through their Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

• Twitter Contest: Carnival Corporation will kick off the launch of its new Twitter handle, @CarnivalPLC, on November 24 with a contest encouraging consumers to share what they love about cruising. In addition to instant prizes for tweets at 50,000, 150,000, 250,000, 400,000, 500,000 and 750,000, one individual will be selected at random to receive, for themselves and a guest, 100 days of cruising on their choice of Carnival Corporation’s U.S.-based brands to be used at their discretion.

• WorldsLeadingCruiseLines.com:This site – which promotes the company’s nine brands – serves as the hub for both the campaign and an information source on cruising options and experiences on Carnival Cruise Lines, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in the U.S.; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Italy; and P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (United Kingdom). The site will help serve as a continuous communication platform for consumers and travel agents.

Norwegian Epic to Debut New Entertainment in 2015 for Year-Round European Sailings
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced a new entertainment line-up for Norwegian Epic, the award-winning ship that will be based year-round in Barcelona, Spain, starting April 30, 2015. Two new Broadway shows will take the stage as headliners: Burn the Floor in April, 2015 and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The Musical in October, 2015. The ship will also feature an all-new British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed to life at sea.

Norwegian Epic to Debut New Entertainment in 2015 for Year-Round European Sailings"We are excited to bring Norwegian Epic to Europe year-round and want to provide our guests with even more exciting entertainment options on the ship that first elevated the onboard entertainment experience," said Drew Madsen, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief operating officer. "These new world-class entertainment offerings, along with Norwegian Epic's innovative accommodations and plethora of dining options, are the perfect combination for the European cruise market and give guests the freedom and flexibility to customize their vacation."

Broadway sensation Burn The Floor, which has received rave reviews on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, will bring the sizzle and passion of ballroom dancing to Norwegian Epic with an all new and exciting show specifically designed for European guests beginning on her transatlantic voyage, April 19, 2015. "Ballroom Blitz," featuring 14 dancers, a live band and two singers, is an ultimate high-voltage theatrical dance experience that explodes with jaw-dropping choreography, heart-pounding music and breath-taking moves.

Based on the Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert - The Musical is the heart-warming, uplifting comedy adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of discovering. The Tony Award winning musical features a dazzling array of over 500 award-winning costumes, 200 extraordinary head-dresses and a hit parade of dance floor favorites, including "It's Raining Men," "I Will Survive," and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." The show will open on the ship's October 18, 2015 voyage.

Norwegian Epic will also receive a whole new entertainment venue created through an exciting partnership with the owners of Liverpool's The Cavern Club, the birthplace of British pop music. Impressively, 57 years after its opening, the original Cavern Club survives and thrives as a contemporary music venue. Norwegian will re-create The Cavern Club experience at sea, rocking guests each evening to the sounds of The Beatles, along with other international musicians. The Cavern Club will debut on the October 11, 2015 sailing.

Carnival Encourages Excellence In Travel Writing As Gold Supporter For SATW Foundation
Carnival Corporation is teaming up with the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Foundation as the first Gold supporter of the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.

As a Gold supporter, Carnival Corporation will donate $40,000 a year for three years to help sustain the premier competition in North America in the field of travel journalism. The Foundation awards nearly $20,000 annually in prize money for outstanding print, online and multimedia works, for travel photography and audio and video broadcast. The Lowell Thomas contest has gained its stature for several reasons, most notably because it does not promote any particular destination or travel product, it is open to all North American journalists, and it is judged independently by the faculty at top U.S. schools of journalism who are paid for their efforts.

David Molyneaux (left), president of the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, and Roger Frizzell, senior vice president of corporate communications and chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation, "We are proud to work with the SATW Foundation to help continue the high standards of excellence among journalists with their ongoing coverage of the travel industry through the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition," said Roger Frizzell, senior vice president of corporate communications and chief communications officer, Carnival Corporation. "We have nine global cruise line brands and 101 ships sailing around the world, so we have much respect for, and highly value, journalistic story-telling of the Carnival experience. In fact, it is essential to helping us make the Carnival product the best option for cruise passengers."

Carnival Corporation is the largest cruise company in the world with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK). Together, these brands operate 101 ships totaling 212,000 lower berths with eight new ships to be delivered through 2017. Carnival Corporation also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. For more information, visit www.Carnival.com.

"We thank Carnival Corporation, along with our other generous partners, for their donations, helping us to recognize and reward excellence in travel journalism," said David G. Molyneaux, SATW Foundation president.

The Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. The SATW Foundation presented 90 awards in 25 categories and nearly $20,000 in prize money in its 2014 competition. The sustainability of the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is supported by generous contributions from Carnival Corporation, among other donors. Since the first competition for work in 1984, the SATW Foundation has presented more than 2,100 awards and more than $420,000 in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.

The awards are named for Lowell Thomas, acclaimed broadcast journalist, prolific author and world explorer during five decades in travel journalism. The competition is open to all North American journalists.

Winners of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition are announced at the SATW Annual Convention.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 41.51 + 2.98%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 68.54 + 0.82%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.85 - 0.35%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 41.31 + 4.98%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name given to the popular transatlantic route between New York, Algeciras, Naples, Genoa and Cannes and what ships were best known for making this trip?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - This picture was taken in 1975 in New York City. Can you name the five ships in the photo (...from bottom to top)?


Click Here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - Fron top to bottom: Statendam, Rotterdam, Oceanic, Michelangelo, Doric (ex Shalom - ex Hanseatic) and the bow of the Sagafjord.
courtesy of Philippe Conquer


Cruise News - November 10, 2014

Quantum of the Seas, Sails Into New York Harbor
She's smart, fashionable, tech savvy and incredibly adventurous, and she's poised to bring the cruise industry into the 21st century.

Quantum of the Seas, Sails Into New York HarborRoyal Caribbean International's newest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, arrived into her homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ today, bringing with her a wave of unprecedented first-at-sea features and amenities.

Quantum of the Seas will sail from New York harbor to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for her inaugural season before departing for her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China, in May 2015. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton in April 2015 and sail Mediterranean itineraries.

Quantum-class ships are the world’s most technologically advanced in the world with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

The ships offer new unprecedented features, such as RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; as well as the Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr which features the world’s first robotic bartenders.

The ships also showcase the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever staterooms with Virtual Balconies, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations from every interior stateroom.

Quantum-class ships span 16 guest decks; encompass 167,800 gross registered tons; carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and feature 2,090 staterooms.

HAL's new ms Koningsdam to Debut an Innovative Design Approach
When Holland America Line welcomes ms Koningsdam to the fleet in February 2016, the ship will debut a new era in design approach for the line. As the first ship in the Pinnacle class, the 2,650-guest ship will have an interior that blends a fresh, contemporary styling in perfect harmony with the line's renowned classic elegance.

Future guests, travel agents and ship fans can now get the first look at select interior renderings on Holland America Line's website, www.hollandamerica.com. The story of the ship will unfold online over the coming months through vibrant renderings, engaging videos, ship facts and more details about the interiors created by Adam D. Tihany and Bjorn Storbraaten.

"When guests come aboard ms Koningsdam they'll know they're on a Holland America Line ship, but they'll see we're taking a forward-thinking approach to many of the design elements," said Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group. "Revealing the first renderings and video of ms Koningsdam enables us to give future guests an advance look at the stunning interiors and over the coming months will reveal innovative new features along with our classics hallmarks that will create a cruise experience for the travelers of tomorrow."

The main Dining Room aboard ms Koningsdam will span two floors and be framed by views of the sea.At the helm of the interior conceptualization is Tihany, regarded as one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. A leader in creating luxurious and creative interiors at some of the world's most iconic properties, Tihany has approached ms Koningsdam with an eye toward creating public spaces that reflect the tradition and signature elegance for which Holland America Line is known, while elevating the design to strike a more modern balance of past, present and future.

Focusing on fluid curves and graceful lines, light-filled spaces and the natural flow of public areas, Tihany's metaphorical approach to the interiors of ms Koningsdam was inspired by the "architecture of music."

"The idea was to tell a story that guests can connect with throughout their voyage," said Tihany. "I was inspired by the thought of what you might see from the inside of a musical instrument, what the architecture of the surfaces and the geometry look like."

Key to his concept is utilizing visual interaction, where guests actively engage with the architecture rather than passively moving through it.

"The design isn't a literal translation of music, but a conceptual approach where we seek to evoke the feeling and beauty of an instrument with graceful lines, dramatic textures, lighting effects and use of materials," said Tihany. "My inspirations were not only instruments, but also majestic spaces and exaggerating the feeling of height, so guests feel the grandeur of every room."

For example, at the heart of the ship Tihany is creating visual drama with the central atrium. Soaring three decks high, the space is graced by an airy stainless-steel sculpture that represents the synthesis of a string quartet. Like music, the experience changes as guests move around and through it, so no two perspectives are the same. The atrium is capped by a ceiling "skylight" that serves as a backdrop for subtly changing high-definition projections. Guests will look up by day and see wispy cirrus clouds floating in an azure sky or perhaps soothing images of light in water. By evening, the atrium takes on dramatic lighting hues or reflects the starlit constellations of the night sky.

The main Dining Room aboard ms Koningsdam will span two floors and be framed by views of the sea. A bright interior will be inspired by a modern, global design and sets the stage for the exceptional culinary experience to come. Strong, curved architectural pillars will accentuate the soaring ceiling. Chic, custom furnishings and modern glass lighting are being fabricated especially for the ship. The centerpiece is a curved copper sheath surrounding a two-story wine tower showcasing an impressive selection.

The iconic Queen's Lounge has been completely reimagined as an elegant theater and entertainment venue that spans two floorsThe iconic Queen's Lounge has been completely reimagined as an elegant theater and entertainment venue that spans two floors. Tihany once again drew inspiration for the space from music, nodding to the sensual curves of a violin and featuring extensive use of wood, fluid waveforms and light. With state-of-the-art technology, the Queen's Lounge will showcase world-class musicians and the largest dance floor on the ship.

Architect and designer Bjorn Storbraaten joins Tihany in bringing the ship to life in a familiar yet innovative style. With his previous work on ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Storbraaten adds continuity of the brand to ms Koningsdam, while taking elegance to the next level.

"It's been fascinating to work on ms Koningsdam where we are introducing design elements never before seen on Holland America Line," said Storbraaten. "We were tasked with evolving the look and feel of the ship while keeping it true to the brand, making this an exciting and rewarding project."

Storbraaten's hand is clearly present in the design of the central pool area. The Magrodome, which typically is a single level on Holland America Line ships, has been expanded to two levels to create a vast glass-enclosed space. The lower level will have more traditional poolside elements, while the mezzanine level will be a new concept for the brand. In addition to other areas, Storbraaten is designing the exotic look of Tamarind, the line's Pan-Asian restaurant that emphasizes nature's basic elements: water, wood, fire and earth.

Across the ship, Tihany and Storbraaten are working together to make ms Koningsdam an evolution of the Holland America Line brand.

Three Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ to Undergo Refurbishment at Hamburg’s Blohm+Voss Shipyard
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ three ships Black Watch, Braemar and Balmoral are all due to enter dry dock at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in November and December 2014, in preparation for the forthcoming 2015/16 cruise season. This is the first time that so many Fred. Olsen ships have undergone refurbishment within such short succession.

Work has started with 804-guest Black Watch, which arrived at Blohm+Voss on 4th November 2014. The ship will then continue on Fred. Olsen’s first-ever sellout ‘Mystery Cruise’ of 14 nights, W1417, which sails from Tilbury on 15th November 2014.

Braemar will then arrive in Hamburg on 12th November 2014Braemar will then arrive in Hamburg on 12th November 2014, after which the 929-guest ship will depart on a three-night M1430 ‘France Mini-Cruise’ from Southampton on 20th November 2014.

Balmoral, which carries 1,350 guests, rounds off the planned dry dock works. The ship will arrive on 9th December 2014, and will leave the shipyard to start a two-night pre-Christmas L1418 ‘France Mini-Cruise’ from Southampton on 19th December 2014. The Blohm+Voss schedule for the three Fred. Olsen cruise ships comprises various engineering works, general refurbishment and interior and exterior painting.

During the dry dock, Black Watch will also see 27 cabins on Lido Deck 7 fitted with balcony terraces. These new Balcony Terrace cabins will extend out 1.2 metres from the ship’s bulkhead, and will provide guests with an increased choice of cost-effective balcony cabins with access to the outside.

During their dry docks, Balmoral and Braemar will also follow on from Boudicca and Black Watch by having Fred. Olsen’s popular ‘Café Venus’ installed on board, serving high-quality coffee and luxury chocolates. The new Café will be created on Balmoral on Lounge Deck 7, by reconfiguring the Library area, to create a more open, sociable public space.

On Braemar, Café Venus will be installed on Lounge Deck 5 by reconfiguring the Library area, and the Card Room will be moved and integrated with the Arts and Crafts Centre on Atlantic Deck 3.

Mike Rodwell, Managing Director of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We experience extremely high demand for balcony cabins across our fleet, and in particular on board the smaller-sized Black Watch, and our new Balcony Terrace cabins are an innovative response to this. We are also looking forward to being able to give guests the experience of fine coffee and chocolates on board Balmoral and Braemar, as they have already been enjoying on Boudicca and Black Watch.

“Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is pleased to be returning to Blohm+Voss for this important work. Balmoral and Braemar are both well-known to the Hamburg shipyard, as they both underwent mid-section extensions in 2007 and 2008 respectively.”

In November 2007, Balmoral was extended by a section of 30.27 metres. Braemar followed in May 2008, being extended amidships by a section of 31.20 metres.

Carnival Pride Launches Winter Service from Port of Tampa
Carnival Pride kicked off a winter schedule of seven-day Caribbean cruises from the Port of Tampa yesterday following an extensive $75 million dry dock that added a wide variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including four spectacular Playlist Productions shows.

Carnival Pride Launches Winter Service from Port of TampaOn its new winter schedule from Tampa, Carnival Pride departs Sundays on week-long cruises to four popular Caribbean destinations: Cozumel, Mexico; Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan; Belize City, Belize; and George Town, Grand Cayman, or Costa Maya, Mexico. Each of these destinations features beautiful beaches, unique cultural experiences and a variety of shore excursion choices, from ziplining, snorkeling and kayaking to cave tubing and exploring ancient ruins.

"We're very excited to launch a winter schedule of Caribbean cruises from Tampa on the Carnival Pride, which is better than ever with a wide variety of new Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment innovations, including four new Playlist Productions shows," said Gerry Cahill, Carnival president and CEO. "Not only does the Carnival Pride offer fantastic new choices for our guests it also provides our travel agent partners with an outstanding, value-packed Caribbean cruise option from Tampa for their clients," he added.

Carnival Pride emerged from an extensive three-week dry dock that added a variety of exciting new features that are part of the line's Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative.

These include delicious dining choices like Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the full-service Bonsai Sushi, and BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare, as well as innovative beverage venues like the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, EA SPORTS Bar featuring a huge 16-monitor video wall, and the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar. A massive WaterWorks aqua park highlighted by Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest water slide at sea, along with audience favorite Hasbro, The Game Show, offering larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic games, and Cherry on Top, a "candy and more store," were also added.

Guests sailing on Carnival Pride can also enjoy four new Playlist Productions shows – 80s Pop to the Max, Heart of Soul, Getaway Island and 88 Keys: The Rock and Roll Piano Show. The new shows are highlighted in an entertaining video hosted by popular Senior Cruise Director John Heald and featuring interviews with members of Carnival's entertainment team and exclusive behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage. The video can be viewed here.

Carnival Pride will operate from Tampa through March 2015 then reposition to Baltimore for year-round five- to 14-day departures from that port.

Royal Caribbean Opens New Terminal at Cape Liberty
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. last week dedicated the new cruise terminal at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, the next phase of the development of the Bayonne cruise port. Bayonne Mayor James Davis, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s Director of Port Commerce Richard Larrabee, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s President and COO Adam Goldstein and Vice President of Port Operations Juan Trescastro, dedicate the new cruise terminal to Art on the Working Waterfront.

Together, the gentlemen unveiled 10 photographs that capture the unique energy and character of historic New York Harbor through the eyes of photographer and International Longshoreman Association-member John Bacaring. Following the unveiling, the officials and executives were invited to the very first preview of the new terminal, slated to welcome guests for the first time when the world’s first Smartship, Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, arrives in New York Harbor on November 10, 2014.

Royal Caribbean Opens New Terminal at Cape Liberty“The development of the new cruise terminal is another example of how public private partnerships are supposed to work. By working together, Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority have been able to bring this world class terminal on line which can service the newest generation of large cruise ships,” said Port Authority Port Commerce Director, Richard Larrabee. “We look forward to continuing passenger growth with the arrival of the Quantum Class vessels to the harbor in 2014 and 2015. It’s been a pleasure working with Royal Caribbean on this important project.”

The second cruise terminal located at 4 Port Terminal Boulevard is a successful partnership between Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority to develop the Bayonne waterfront for cruise tourism. The first phase of the $55 million port expansion includes a new, state-of-the-art guest terminal, with 125,000 sq. ft. of check-in, customs and immigration, and luggage processing space, as well as a 950-car parking structure and pier improvements. The new facility is adjacent to the first cruise terminal, opened in 2004.

“Royal Caribbean thanks the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the City of Bayonne for this successful collaboration to develop Cape Liberty for cruise tourism.,” said Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “The planned state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Cape Liberty will perfectly complement our Quantum-class ships, which will be the most technologically advanced ships in the world, and help generate jobs and grow the cruise industry regionally.”

Opened in May 2004, Cape Liberty Cruise Port is located 15 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport and seven miles south of Manhattan. The port has been the year-round home of Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas, and seasonally for Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit. Quantum of the Seas will sail to the Caribbean and Bahamas starting in November 2014. Liberty of the Seas will then homeport at Cape Liberty in summer 2015 and become Royal Caribbean International’s largest and most innovative cruise ship to sail to Bermuda. In winter 2015, Cape Liberty will be the homeport for Quantum of the Seas’ sister-ship Anthem of the Seas, after completing its inaugural season in Europe.

“Being the sole cruise port in the entire State of New Jersey, today highlights one of the many unique qualities of Bayonne. Without question, by establishing working relationships with entities like Royal Caribbean the possibilities are endless for the future of the City,” said Mayor James Davis.

Based on “The Contribution of the North American Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy in 2011” (BREA Business Research, 2012), Cape Liberty has the second largest passenger volume among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coast ports. Every time a cruise ship docks at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, $1.5 million is spent at and in the surrounding areas of the port. The facilities generate an estimated $500,000 per year to the City of Bayonne through a local parking tax instituted in 2008. Furthermore, the cruise industry helps New Jersey generate $390 million annually and employs more than 7,000 residents.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.31 + 0.60%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 67.98 - 0.61%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.86 - 1.04%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 39.35 + 0.72%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Here's another Photo Cruise Trivia - This picture was taken in 1975 in New York City. Can you name the five ships in the photo (...from bottom to top)?


Click Here for a larger version of the picture.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?

Answer - The former cruise ship was Norwegian Cruise Line's Norway.
courtesy of Bruce A. McKenzie, Guam USA


Cruise News - November 3, 2014

Princess Cruises Pays Tribute to The Love Boat at Regal Princess Launch
Princess Cruises, the cruise line made famous as the backdrop of the iconic Love Boat television series, christened its new Regal Princess today with a tribute to the show as all six of the original cast members served as the ship's godparents, and were joined by 25 of the show's past guest stars.

The star-studded Love Boat themed festivities, which also launched the line's 50th anniversary, celebrated the role the show played in Princess Cruises' five-decades-long history.

Princess Cruises officially christened the new Regal Princess in a naming ceremony featuring the original cast members of The Love BoatAll six Love Boat cast members - Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship's doctor), Lauren Tewes (cruise director, Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain's daughter) - pulled a lever that first sent a record-breaking fifty champagne bottles smashing against the ship's hull as a nod to the company's anniversary celebration, followed by the breaking of a giant Nebuchadnezzar-size 51st bottle signifying Princess Cruises' continued future success.

Frequent show guest-star Florence Henderson served as the Master of Ceremonies and celebrities walking the 50th Anniversary gold carpet included: Loni Anderson, Joyce DeWitt, Jamie Farr, Pam Grier, Christopher Knight, Diane Ladd, Lorenzo Lamas, Carol Lawrence, Rich Little, Kristy McNichol, Lee Meriwether, Don Most, Tracy Nelson, Mackenzie Phillips, Doris Roberts, Marion Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Charlene Tilton, Joan Van Ark, Dick Van Patten and Adrian Zmed. The guest star with the most number of appearances on the show, Charo, entertained guests with a classical guitar number and Jack Jones, who sang the original version of the Love Boat theme, reprised this famous song.

"The Love Boat put Princess Cruises on the map, bringing the romance and adventure of our cruise vacations into millions of viewers' homes for the decade it was on air. So it was fitting that the cast was selected as godparents for Regal Princess as we begin our 50th anniversary celebrations," said Jan Swartz, the line's president.

The pilot episode of The Love Boat was shot aboard Princess' 730-passenger Sun Princess, with Pacific Princess and Island Princess then becoming the primary floating stars of the show. Later episodes and specials were filmed aboard many of Princess' other cruise ships in destinations around the globe. The show, which aired from 1977 to 1986, went on to become one of the highest-rated and longest-running shows on television, introducing viewers to modern day cruising and, in the process, making Princess Cruises and its ships synonymous with vacations at sea.

The 3,560-guest Regal Princess now begins her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations out of Ft. Lauderdale. Among the special features found onboard the ship are a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, offering a host of dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! Television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef's Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; Princess Watercolor Fantasy, a fountain and music show; the Night Sky Lounge, a new nighttime experience that enables guests to enjoy a chic and contemporary poolside nightclub under the stars, and balconies on all outside staterooms.

Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill To Retire
Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, announced today that he is retiring, effective November 30, after 20 years of service.

Cahill, 63, has been CEO of Carnival Corporation's largest cruise brand since 2007, growing the cruise line to 24 ships – the largest in the company's fleet -- during his tenure.

Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill To Retire"Gerry has been instrumental in taking Carnival Cruise Lines to new heights as one of the preeminent brands in the cruise industry," said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise company. "He and his team have delivered new innovations to cruising while growing the business year after year."

During his tenure as CEO, Cahill and his team launched four new ships and introduced a new class of ships, the Dream class, which included the Carnival Dream, one of the largest ships in the company's fleet, as well as Carnival Magic and Carnival Breeze with its many new branded spaces and experiences.

Cahill and his team also oversaw the delivery of new cruising features such as the innovative Funship 2.0 ship enhancements and Carnival LIVE concert series, a first in the cruise industry, as well the Carnival Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership that brought the beloved Dr. Seuss children's brand and characters to its ships. He and his team also developed partnerships with major brands to offer passengers popular on-board features, such as celebrity chef Guy Fieri for Guy's Burger Joint and comedian and TV personality George Lopez for The Punchliner Comedy Club.

"I can't thank Gerry enough for his tireless efforts both as CFO of Carnival Corporation and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines," said Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc. "While we would always feel his retiring is premature, we understand and support his decision. His leadership and passion, along with his honest and frank views will be missed, and we will always have a deep appreciation for Gerry's tremendous contributions to Carnival Corporation."

No replacement for Cahill is being named at this point. Cahill has agreed to stay on in an advisory capacity for an unspecified time to provide advice and counsel to the leadership team through the transition period.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to lead Carnival Cruise Lines for the past seven years and to work for this great company for 20 years," said Cahill. "Deciding when to retire is not easy, especially when you love what you do. I feel the time is good for me personally and the company and brand are in a good place. Our employees are the finest, most dedicated people I know, and the thing I will miss most in my retirement is the opportunity to come to the office each day and work with such talented individuals."

Cahill joined Carnival Corporation in 1994 as vice president – finance, and in January 1998 was promoted to senior vice president – finance and chief financial officer.

Before joining Carnival, Cahill spent six years with Safecard Services, Inc., a NYSE-listed company, where he served first as chief financial officer and then as chief operating officer. From 1979 to 1988, Cahill held financial posts at Resorts International, Inc., and prior to that spent six years with Price Waterhouse.

Cahill graduated from the University of Miami, earning his B.B.A. degree in 1973.

Carnival Corporation Will Increase Fleet Capacity by Nearly 10 Percent through 2016
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise company, announced today it will increase fleet capacity by nearly 10 percent from 2014 through 2016, fueled largely by the addition of four new ships across four brands in less than 18 months.

Princess Cruises officially christened the new Regal Princess in a naming ceremony featuring the original cast members of The Love BoatThis week, Carnival Corporation is christening two new ships in the span of three days as its Princess and Costa brands host official naming ceremonies for Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, the latest new vessels to join the company's industry-leading fleet of more than 100 ships across nine cruise brands. Additionally, in 2015, the company's P&O Cruises UK and AIDA brands will each debut a new ship, giving Carnival Corporation a total of four new ship additions by October of next year.

All told, the company has refreshed its global fleet – the largest in the world – with more than 30 new ship additions since 2007, including Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, with another seven ships scheduled to be delivered between 2015 and early 2017.

In addition, Carnival Corporation continues to expand its fleet leadership with upgrades and refurbishments to existing ships. In 2015 alone, the company plans upgrades or refurbishments on 17 ships across six of its brands.

The 2015 refurbishment plans include two former Holland America Line ships transferred to P&O Cruises Australia that will undergo complete refurbishment before sailing as Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden starting in November 2015. The renovated ships will offer a new level of comfort and style with onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers, as Carnival Corporation boosts its industry-leading presence in the world's fastest-growing cruise market.

This week, Princess Cruises officially christened the new Regal Princess in a naming ceremony featuring the original cast members of "The Love Boat" television series who are serving as godparents for the new ship. After entering service in May 2014, the newly christened Regal Princess will now begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations sailing out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

On Nov. 7, Costa Cruises will host a naming ceremony for Costa Diadema in Genoa, ItalyOn Nov. 7, Costa Cruises will host a naming ceremony for Costa Diadema in Genoa, Italy, where the brand's new flagship will be christened by the ship's Godmother, Carolina Miceli, an Italian travel agent selected from over 700 candidates in 50 countries for best representing the cruise line's values. Following the christening, Diadema will begin sailing in the Mediterranean through the summer of 2015.

In addition to Costa Diadema and Regal Princess, two other Carnival Corporation brands will debut new ships in 2015. In March, P&O Cruises UK will introduce Britannia, which is the largest ship ever built for the British cruise market. In the fall of 2015, German cruise operator AIDA will christen its new flagship, AIDAprima, which is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced ships in the world.

"We're very proud to christen Regal Princess and Costa Diadema this week, and these beautiful ships signify our commitment to providing the best possible guest experience across our industry-leading brands," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "As we invest in continually refreshing our fleet, we're able to provide our passengers the best of what new ships have to offer."

"And as always, our focus is on consistently exceeding our guests' expectations and doing everything we can to make sure that our passengers have joyful vacations," Donald added. "Compared to other options, cruising is hard to beat as a great way to truly relax and enjoy a vacation and unique destinations, and a great value that is also hard to beat. Introducing new ships into our fleet is just one more way we are working to provide wonderful vacations and lifetime memories for millions of people around the world. That focus will help us grow the market for cruising, and in turn increase demand for our product. So it's a win-win for consumers, and for our company."

Carnival Corporation's four new fleet additions in 18 months are part of the company's plan to introduce nine new ships across seven of its brands between 2014 and 2017. AIDA, Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Seabourn are all expected to debut new state-of-the-art cruise ships between now and the early part of 2017.

In 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines will debut Carnival Vista, a stunning 133,500-ton ship that will be the largest ever in its fleet -- with the ship being unveiled in a sneak preview in New York in January 2015. Holland America Line will launch its newest ship, the 99,500-ton ms Koningsdam, a new Pinnacle Class ship that can carry 2,650 passengers. Also in 2016, AIDA will introduce a new sister ship to the 2015 AIDAprima with capacity for 3,250 passengers, while Seabourn will unveil its newest luxury ship, expected to be the biggest ever built by the brand with the ability to serve 604 passengers.

Looking forward to 2017, Princess Cruises is working with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a 143,000-ton vessel featuring the highly popular design elements introduced by the brand's two newest ships, and sisters, the Royal Princess and Regal Princess.

HAL's 2015 Europe Season Features Eight Ships Sailing 62 Unique Itineraries
Travelers looking to explore the history, culture and famous sights of Europe in 2015 have more options than ever before with eight Holland America Line ships offering sailings ranging from seven to 50 days. The 62 unique cruises highlight three new itineraries, four maiden calls and overnight visits to 21 of the continent's most popular and culturally rich cities.

The diverse fleet that will explore the region includes ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam — Holland America Line's two Signature-Class shipsThe diverse fleet that will explore the region includes ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam — Holland America Line's two Signature-Class ships — as well as ms Maasdam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam. New to Europe in 2015 is the 1,916-guest ms Zuiderdam, which will sail in the Mediterranean.

"Having eight ships in Europe enables us to reach every corner of the region — from the top of Norway to the beaches of Turkey and everywhere in between," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "The beauty of Europe is that there truly is something for everyone, so it's the ideal family cruise, romantic getaway or a vacation with friends."

In 2015 Holland America Line Europe cruises continue to focus on destination diversity, timeless appeal and high-quality experiences. The ships explore the entire region on itineraries that include northern Europe and the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Baltic; the British Isles; Canary Islands; Italian and French Riviera's; Iberian Peninsula; Black Sea; the eastern and western Mediterranean; and transatlantics.

Maiden calls at Alta, Norway, the northernmost town in the world; Paamiut (Frederikshab), Greenland; Igoumenitsa, Greece; and Canakkale, Turkey, enhance select itineraries.

Several convenient roundtrip options will be available from eight ports: Barcelona, Spain; Boston, Mass.; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark; Harwich (London), England; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Many of the cruises also can be extended into Collectors' Voyages ranging from 14 to 35 days, which offer the ultimate European experience. These artfully crafted longer journeys combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture.

Notable New Itineraries:

• 18-Day Canary Islands Discovery - The popular itinerary returns in 2015 on Rotterdam departing April 21 on a roundtrip Rotterdam route. The ship visits the island of Funchal and explores ports in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa. Guests also enjoy an overnight call at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the largest and most diverse city on all seven of the Canary Islands, and home to the largest volcano in the world — El Teide.

• 14-Day Northern Isles - Ryndam departs June 20 and August 1 on a roundtrip Harwich (London) itinerary that showcases the best of Iceland with six calls throughout the country, as well as three calls in Norway. In addition to visits to key "bucket list" ports such as Iceland's Reykjavik and Akureyri, and Norway's Bergen, the ship spends three days of scenic cruising through some of the region's most striking fjords and landscapes.

• 21-Day Mediterranean Adventure - Ryndam sails from Harwich (London) to Venice Sept.12, visiting ports in Spain and Portugal before venturing into the Mediterranean Sea. Once there, guests are treated to calls at exciting cities in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro. Guests with less time can embark on a segment of this three-week journey ranging from 10 to 20 days.

Holland America Line's Europe itineraries enable guests to be among the few to cross the Arctic Circle and experience the midnight sun while visiting some of the northern-most cities in the world. Guests can take a dip in the famous "Blue Lagoon" during a call at Reykjavik, pay a visit to the Rock Carvings at Alta, go on a "seal watch" at Paamiut and look for the seals gathering in the Labrador Sea, or enjoy some local wine and cheese while taking in the stunning vistas from the port citadel at Calvi, Corsica. And on Ryndam's Norwegian Explorer voyage departing September 12, guests will have the best opportunity to witness the Northern Lights.

On each Europe cruise, Holland America Line's "On Location" enrichment program brings local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life onboard to deepen guests' appreciation of the region. Guests might enjoy a Turkish Taraf with live belly dancers, Nordic Jazz and Food Festival, German Bierfest with a live "oompah" band, regional beer and wine tastings, cultural cooking demonstrations, special tapas sail-away parties and more.

Disney Cruise Line Reveals Ports and Itineraries for Early 2016
Disney Cruise Line introduces two popular Caribbean destinations — Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique — into the lineup of favorite tropical itineraries for early 2016. The return to the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico brings a new itinerary that includes Martinique.

Disney Cruise Line Reveals Ports and Itineraries for Early 2016From the warm Caribbean culture of Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands, to the exquisite French island of Martinique, these destinations provide Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to relax on pristine beaches, discover natural wonders and indulge in local shopping and cuisine.

Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean, including Tortola In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. on a seven-night itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean, including a call at Tortola and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Tortola is an idyllic escape for guests of all ages, from tranquil beaches and stunning scenery to exhilarating activities and authentic Caribbean fare. With a variety of experiences for the family to share together, Disney Cruise Line guests will create memories in Tortola while swimming with dolphins, exploring centuries-old ruins, sampling local spices on Main Street and reveling in the natural beauty of Sage Mountain National Park.

Ports: Port Canaveral; Tortola; St. Thomas; Castaway Cay Departure dates: Disney Fantasy: Jan. 2, 16, 30; Feb. 13, 27; March 12, 26; April 9, 23; Disney Magic: April 3, 17

San Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Martinique Disney Cruise Line returns to San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2016 as the Disney Wonder sails four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean, including a stop in Martinique on a new itinerary for Disney.

Known as the “Flower of the Caribbean,” Martinique offers a unique island experience complete with breathtaking natural beauty and cosmopolitan culture of French and Creole influence. Nature-lovers will delight in lush rainforests, rushing waterfalls and volcanic landmarks, while guests looking for a more upscale experience will savor superb French cuisine and superlative shopping.

Ports: San Juan; Barbados; Grenada; Martinique; Antigua; St. Kitts Departure dates: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31

Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

HAL Develops Program to Support Marine Protected Areas
As part of its "Our Marvelous Oceans" partnership with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line has created a new program that highlights and educates guests and crew about marine protected areas around the world.

HAL Develops Program to Support Marine Protected AreasDeveloped with the team at Marine Conservation Institute, the program will educate guests and crew through on-board presentations by shipboard personnel. Topics will cover what a marine protected area is and how to visit one without causing harm to the habitat and wildlife. This information can be enhanced through participation in featured shore excursions.

"The goal of this partnership is to promote marine protected areas around the world — especially in those regions where our ships sail. The new program also will create enrichment opportunities for guests to learn more about these important conservation locations," said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. "Together with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line shares a belief in our responsibility to protect the oceans, and together we want to educate our guests and crew about these special places and about how we can collectively make a difference."

In the Caribbean the program will largely focus on marine life and a variety of tropical ecosystems. For example, in Key West, Fla., guests can go snorkeling in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to see the area's beautiful coral reefs. Or in San Juan, Puerto Rico, cruisers can embark on a unique nighttime kayak adventure into the bio-luminescent bay at Laguna Grande of Fajardo to learn about the water's organisms and see how they "light up" at night.

In Australia and New Zealand, regional programs include a nature cruise to observe Hector's dolphins at the Akaroa Marine Reserve at Akaroa, New Zealand. These are just a few of the excursions offered by Holland America Line that feature marine protected areas.

"We are excited to create another meaningful program in partnership with Holland America Line," said Dr. Lance Morgan, president of Marine Conservation Institute. "Marine protected areas are an important tool for safeguarding critical ecological places around the world, yet they receive little attention and awareness. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring more focus on these special ocean places."

The "Our Marvelous Oceans" partnership began in 2010 and will continue through 2016. The goal of the program is to educate guests and crew about marine conservation issues, including this new focus on sensitive marine protected areas. Holland America Line also continues to work with Marine Conservation Institute to provide sustainable seafood options for its guests.

Princess Cruises Partners with Discovery Consumer Products
Princess Cruises and Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, today announced their collaboration to create Discovery At Sea, interactive onboard activities and shore excursions to entertain and delight families aboard Princess ships.

Princess Cruises Partners with Discovery Consumer ProductsThe new Discovery At Sea cruise vacations will feature themed tours, science activities, hands-on programs and games based on Discovery's breadth of brands and programming. Debuting on Princess Cruises' ships in early 2015, the interactive experiences are designed to bring to life the nature, wildlife and history of the regions guests are sailing.

Discovery At Sea content will be based on top-rated Discovery network properties from Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Science Channel. Some of the integrations guests will experience are based on Shark Week, Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch.

Guests will be able to let their imaginations set sail with a variety of activities including:

• Discovery Under the Stars – Guests on select cruise vacations will forever look up at the night sky in a whole new way after this cosmic voyage from the ship's top deck.

• Shark Week at Sea – This experience will challenge adults and kids alike, testing their knowledge of the ocean with trivia games and a variety of themed activities.

• Baking at Sea with TLC – All ages will be able to join in the fun of learning to bake and decorate cakes by the best pastry chefs at sea.

• Discovery, Animal Planet and Science Channel Shore Excursions - Offerings will include panning for gold on the Gold Rush inspired tour; getting up-close with each destination's native animals during Animal Planet tours; and learning how popular foods and beverages go from farm to table on Science Channel How It's Made tours.

• Discovery Kids and Teens Program – Age-appropriate onboard activities will include fun and engaging science experiments made popular by Mythbusters; Animal Planet themed activities; brain teasers and competitions; and videos, puzzles, games and apps from Discovery.

"This is such an exciting partnership between our two companies because we are both passionate about exploring the world," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. "Discovery's brands resonate with a growing, global audience and we'll be bringing some of their most popular programs to life for our guests in the context of the destinations they are visiting on their cruise. We're creating meaningful and memorable shared experiences while also fueling a lifelong passion for travel."

"From science and nature to baking, crafting and exploration, the Discovery brands truly provide something for every cruiser to enjoy," said Nicolas Bonard, SVP of Global Discovery Consumer Products. "This partnership is the perfect integration of our brands into the amazing offering Princess provides its guests onboard, creating a truly unique experience igniting curiosity on every voyage."

To further enhance the cruise experience, Princess ships will feature a lineup of television programming including hit shows from Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC. Discovery limited-time-only merchandise will also be available onboard, offering passengers a chance to bring home branded keepsake souvenirs.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Announces Share Repurchase
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Announces Share RepurchaseRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) announced today that it has agreed to repurchase 3.5 million shares of common stock of the Company held by Awilhelmsen AS (Awilhelmsen). Concurrently, Awilhelmsen announced that it had today sold an additional 3.5 million shares to a financial institution in a market transaction pursuant to Rule 144 of the Securities Act. The price to be paid by RCL for its shares will equal the price paid by the financial institution to Awilhelmsen.

The last reported sale price of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) common stock on November 3, 2014 was $68.40 per share.

Following the sale of common stock by Awilhelmsen, and the repurchase of common stock by RCL, Awilhelmsen, together with its affiliates, will beneficially own approximately 16% of RCL's outstanding common stock. The repurchase will be funded from the Company's cash on hand.

"Our Board of Directors and management team believe in the long-term health and profitability of the Company. We believe this is an opportunistic repurchase transaction, which uses our cash on hand, is accretive to per-share earnings, and is beneficial to all shareholders of RCL," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer.

"This transaction gives Awilhelmsen an opportunity to diversify our investment portfolio while maintaining its significant position as the largest shareholder of RCL," said Sigurd E. Thorvildsen, its chief executive officer.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.07 + 4.54%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 68.40 + 7.16%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.89 + 5.09%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 39.07 + 10.62%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship received special permission to fly the flag of the United Nations in honor of the over 25 nationalities represented in her crew?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - While on a cruise, what should you do if you hear seven (7) or more short blasts on the ship's whistle and General Alarm, followed by one (1) long blast?

Answer - That is the general emergency signal. Some ships say first "Go to your cabin and pick up your lifejacket and medication" But in every case it means go to your muster station.
courtesy of scanlan at hotmail.com


Cruise News - October 27, 2014

Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery of Quantum of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International took delivery today of the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet, Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain and Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer attended the official signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany. With Captain Srecko “Felix” Ban at the helm, the ship will begin her journey today to Southampton, U.K., where she will welcome her first guests on November 2, for a trans-Atlantic voyage to her home port of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, New Jersey.

Royal Caribbean Takes Delivery of Quantum of the SeasQuantum of the Seas will sail from New York harbor to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for her inaugural season before departing for her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China, in May 2015. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton in April 2015 and sail Mediterranean itineraries.

Quantum-class ships are the world’s most technologically advanced in the world with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

The ships offer new unprecedented features, such as RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; as well as the Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr which features the world’s first robotic bartenders.

The ships also showcase the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever staterooms with Virtual Balconies, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations from every interior stateroom.

Quantum-class ships span 16 guest decks; encompass 167,800 gross registered tons; carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Costa Takes Delivery of New Flagship
Costa Diadema, the fifteenth ship and new flagship of Costa Cruises fleet, was presented today to Costa Cruises at the Fincantieri shipyard. Costa Cruises has invested a total of around 550 million euro in the construction of the Costa Diadema at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera.

Costa Diadema, the fifteenth ship and new flagship of Costa Cruises fleet, was presented today to Costa Cruises at the Fincantieri shipyardThe project has involved approximately 1,000 shipyard workers plus another 2,500 subcontractors and about 400 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms, engaged for the fitting-out of the interiors of the cruise ship. Costa Diadema is the 12th cruise ship built in Italy by Fincantieri for Costa, with a total investment worth more than 5 billion euro.

“Costa Diadema is our new flagship, she will set new standards in the European cruise industry and further strengthen Costa's leadership in Europe. She is the best expression of our new brand positioning: Italy's finest. It`s passion and modern Italian lifestyle, hospitality and elegance" commented Costa Crociere S.p.A CEO, Michael Thamm.

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri S.p.A. said:“Costa Diadema is the 44th cruise ship we have built since 2002, the 12th cruise ship we have built for our friends fromCosta Crociere. This is thus a very special occasion to us and we are very proud to present the latest result of the Italian excellence, which confirms our leading position in ship design and construction for cruise sector, a sector without parallel in terms of technological complexity and competitiveness.” Bono concluded: “Today, during this day of celebration, I express my wish that this fruitful cooperation between two main national companies may continue and bring good luck to the whole country.”

At 132,500 gross tons, more than 300 meters long and 37 meters wide, Costa Diadema has 1,862 guest cabins and will be an Ambassador of Italy’s finest offering the best of Italian lifestyle, entertainment, gastronomy and hospitality. The new flagship’s interiors are even cozier, roomier and more modern in terms of facilities and layout of her public areas. She is a cutting-edge vessel which offers large, split-level rooms directly overlooking the sea and conveniently interconnected, thus evoking the atmosphere of a buzzing Italian seaside resort.

The perfect example is the outside promenade on deck five – a real “terrazza all’italiana”, extending over 500 meters, where guests can go for a stroll and enjoy the spectacular view over the sea, or, even better, relaxing in one of the several bars and restaurants, drinking a cocktail or having a romantic dinner.

After the delivery, Costa Diadema will set sail from Venice on October 30 and will reach Trieste, from which her “vernissage cruise” will start on November 1, then will call at Dubrovnik, Corfù, Malta, Naples, to then end in Genoa on November 7, for the Christening event. After the vernissage, from November 8, she will depart for three 7-day inaugural cruises.

As “Regina del Mediterraneo”, Costa Diadema will be deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. From November 8 until the end of 2015 Summer season, the new flagship will leave from Savona on 7-day cruises in the western Mediterranean Sea, calling every week at Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Naples and La Spezia. They will offer the chance to visit during a single cruise Florence and Naples, two of the most popular Italian cities, and beautiful Mediterranean cities like Barcelona and Marseille.

Disney Reveals Ports and Itineraries for 2016
Disney Cruise Line introduces two popular Caribbean destinations -- Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique -- into the lineup of favorite tropical itineraries for early 2016. The return to the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico brings a new itinerary that includes Martinique.

Disney Reveals Ports and Itineraries for 2016From the warm Caribbean culture of Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands, to the exquisite French island of Martinique, these destinations provide Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to relax on pristine beaches, discover natural wonders and indulge in local shopping and cuisine.

Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean, including Tortola - In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. on a seven-night itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean, including a call at Tortola and Disney's private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Tortola is an idyllic escape for guests of all ages, from tranquil beaches and stunning scenery to exhilarating activities and authentic Caribbean fare. With a variety of experiences for the family to share together, Disney Cruise Line guests will create memories in Tortola while swimming with dolphins, exploring centuries-old ruins, sampling local spices on Main Street and reveling in the natural beauty of Sage Mountain National Park.

Ports: Port Canaveral; Tortola; St. Thomas; Castaway Cay
Departure dates: Disney Fantasy: Jan. 2, 16, 30; Feb. 13, 27; March 12, 26; April 9, 23; Disney Magic: April 3, 17

San Juan to Southern Caribbean, including Martinique - Disney Cruise Line returns to San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2016 as the Disney Wonder sails four seven-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean, including a stop in Martinique on a new itinerary for Disney.

Known as the "Flower of the Caribbean," Martinique offers a unique island experience complete with breathtaking natural beauty and cosmopolitan culture of French and Creole influence. Nature-lovers will delight in lush rainforests, rushing waterfalls and volcanic landmarks, while guests looking for a more upscale experience will savor superb French cuisine and superlative shopping.

Ports: San Juan; Barbados; Grenada; Martinique; Antigua; St. Kitts

Departure dates: Jan. 10, 17, 24, 31

Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean - In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

Royal Caribbean Reports Third Quarter Results
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) today reported third quarter results and provided a preliminary outlook for 2015. Net Yields and Net Cruise Costs as well as Adjusted Net Income all performed about as expected for the quarter generating Adjusted Net Income growth of 31% to $493 million.

Royal Caribbean Reports Third Quarter ResultsEarly bookings for 2015 are robust and the current order book is better than at the same time last year in both volume and price. Based on this, the company's current earnings estimates are consistent with Street consensus of $4.55 per share for 2015. "It was another very positive quarter as we progress methodically toward our DOUBLE-DOUBLE goals," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "We are positioned nicely on the eve of delivery of the highly anticipated Quantum of the Seas."

THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

Adjusted Net Income for the third quarter of 2014 was $492.9 million, or $2.20 per share, compared to Adjusted Net Income of $377 million, or $1.71 per share, in the third quarter of 2013. US GAAP Net Income for the third quarter 2014 was $490.2 million or $2.19 per share, compared to $365.7 million or $1.65 per share in 2013.

Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 4.2% during the quarter. Onboard and Other Revenue drove the slight upside, particularly in Europe and Alaska, with onboard revenue yields also increasing 4.4% during the quarter.

Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel decreased 1.2% mainly due to timing. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the third quarter was $688 per metric ton and consumption was 335,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2014

Royal Caribbean said that it expects full year Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.45 per share. Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to increase approximately 2.5%, consistent with the mid-point of previous guidance. NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to slightly down on a Constant-Currency basis, consistent with prior guidance.

"Despite the usual swings, the trajectory for 2014 continues along the path described three months ago," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. "Our satisfaction with the positive results in Europe and Asia continues unabated, as does our eagerness to lap the highly promotional Caribbean environment."

Bookings since the July earnings release have been solid and Royal Caribbean said that it continues to be booked ahead of last year in both load factor and APD. Double-digit yield improvements on Europe and China sailings continue to offset the continuation of a highly promotional Caribbean environment.

The US Dollar has strengthened recently and that has a net negative impact on our earnings. Correspondingly, the price of fuel in world markets has declined and net of hedging that has had a small positive impact. The net impact of these two items is a negative $0.10 in 2014. Over time, we believe there is a certain degree of inverse correlation between these factors, but such offsets are not complete and short run fluctuations are inevitable. Royal Caribbean pointed out that it had previously raised its guidance for 2014 partially based on the weakening of the US Dollar earlier in the year.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects 2014 Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.45 per share.

Royal Caribbean said that it also described an immaterial accounting change they have made this quarter relating to partially completed voyages. For voyages of more than 10 nights, Royal Caribbean said that it prorates the revenue and cruise operating costs of the voyage at the end of each quarter. However, for shorter cruises, Royal Caribbean said that it has historically only recognized the revenue and related costs upon completion of the voyage. Thus, for shorter cruises, revenue and related costs were not recognized for partially completed voyages between quarters. For example, the revenue from a seven night New Year's cruise would only be recognized when the cruise ended in January even if most of the cruise took place in December. Royal Caribbean said that it has historically followed this "completed voyage" approach on its shorter voyages because the difference was immaterial and the effort required to prorate the shorter voyages was not cost beneficial. The accumulation of new technology and process improvements have simplified the task, and beginning in the third quarter, the company now prorates all voyages.

This change has no material effect on our earnings, yields or cost metrics. In 2014, there is an element of normalization related to prior years which will benefit earnings this year by approximately $0.13 per share. Because it relates to prior years, Royal Caribbean said that it has excluded this benefit from Adjusted Earnings. This is consistent with the company's previous approach to Adjusted Earnings guidance. Also in the third quarter, Royal Caribbean said that it recognized a loss on the sale of the Celebrity Century of approximately $0.08. Together, these two items increased EPS by $0.05 per share which has been excluded from Adjusted EPS but included in GAAP EPS.

In addition, largely due to the entry and success of Quantum of the Seas, we expect a proration benefit in 2014 related to this year's December sailings of approximately $0.07 which has been included in our Adjusted Earnings guidance.

FOURTH QUARTER 2014

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up approximately 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and NCC excluding fuel are expected to be up in the range of 2% to 3%. TUI Cruises' additional capacity continues to be a key contributor to earnings for the fourth quarter. Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates and currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects fourth quarter Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $0.35 to $0.40 per share.

2015 OUTLOOK

Royal Caribbean said that it is experiencing strong early booking trends for 2015. Booked load factors and APDs are higher than same time last year and the booking window has extended. Europe sailings are off to a particularly good start, with strong booking trends from North America and from Europe. Caribbean pricing pressure continues through the first quarter, but we expect it to improve thereafter.

It is early days yet, but the view looking forward is very encouraging and Royal Caribbean said that it is optimistic that 2015 will be the sixth consecutive year for yield growth. Royal Caribbean said that it has sufficient visibility into 2015 to say that it is comfortable with the Street consensus of $4.55 per share. That would represent more than a 30% increase over this year's record profitability.

"We anticipate another record year in 2015, an important step on the way to DOUBLE-DOUBLE," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our strategy continues to drive better revenues, and coupled with cost discipline and moderate growth, we will continue to excel."

Britannia’s “Multi-Sensory” Menus Bring New Flavor to Fine Dining
When P&O Cruises launches its new ship Britannia next March, creativity, quality, flavour and variety, combined with a touch of theatre, will be the principles behind the ship’s impressive food offerings. These principles will be never more evident than in two of the ship’s fine dining venues – Sindhu and Epicurean – which will continue to build on P&O Cruises reputation for excellence in dining.

P&O Unveils Britannia's LiveryP&O Cruises’ marketing director Christopher Edgington said: “In recent years, our guests’ palates have become increasingly more sophisticated and our culinary offering needs to reflect this change. In Sindhu, guests will enjoy unique and innovative Indian cuisine combining Atul Kochhar’s heritage with his love of British ingredients, while in Epicurean they’ll be treated to a brand new multi-sensory cooking experience with touches of molecular gastronomy that complement the more traditional dishes. Both restaurants demonstrate our passion for good food at P&O Cruises”

Sindhu - P&O Cruises has always been proud of its long-standing affiliation with India and Sindhu celebrates this in style. Michelin star holder and ‘master of spices’, Atul Kochhar is the creator of Sindhu where he will showcase his unrivalled flair for fine dining using big bold flavours combining his homeland’s spices with quality British and European ingredients. Examples of dishes include:

Starters
• Jal Tarang: Pan-fried hand dived scallops with textures of parsnip
• JKarara Kekda: Crisp fried soft shell crab with tomato, cucumber and passion fruit salsa
• JMachchi Amritsari: Pan fried cod fillet with Ajwain seeds and crushed spiced peas
• JTandoori Ratan: Rajasthani smoked lamb chop, chicken seekh kebab and basil marinated king prawns

Main Courses
• JKonju Kari: Native lobster fricassée with rice pancakes, asparagus and Atul’s signature malabar sauce
• JBatak Falliyan: seared gressingham duck breast in Punjabi masala with three bean stew and crispy duck skin
• JKhumb Khichidi: Stir fried wild mushrooms with lentils, seasonal truffle and rice kedgeree
• JTandoori Machhi: Taggiasca olive marinated salmon, cumin baked potatoes and white asparagus
• JAtul’s Signature Plate: Lamb rogan josh, chicken murgh kesari korma and tandoori salmon macchi

Desserts
• JMasaledar Chaklet: Warm five spiced chocolate pudding with tarragon and blood orange sorbet
• JMungfali aur Chaklet: Peanut butter parfait with palm sugar ice cream
• JBerry Bhapia Doi: Yoghurt cheese cake with Hibiscus tea jelly and textures of raspberry

In addition to this extensive and varied menu, Sindhu also offers a bar menu featuring Nashta – Indian tapas.

Epicurean - This fine dining restaurant offers an extraordinary experience where a sense of occasion is always on the menu. Fusing classic dining elements with the best of modern British cuisine in a sophisticated and contemporary setting, the emphasis is on grand style and flawless service. Using the finest and freshest produce presented with great skill to achieve maximum flavour, the dishes are simple allowing the ingredients to be the stars of the show. Chefs utilise the principles of molecular gastronomy and techniques such as precision temperature cooking, freeze drying and fuming flasks of liquid nitrogen in order to enhance taste, texture and appearance. This meeting of science and cuisine will challenge guests’ notions of food and take them on a defining culinary journey. The menu features a selection of classic and contemporary dishes including:

Starters
• Chicken and morel mushroom mousseline with pistachio crumble: duck liver parfait, sweet and sour pickled vegetables and spinach anglaise
• Devonshire white crab, langoustine and caviar cocktail: pea and chervil custard, parchment bread and a cucumber Mojito
• Salt and pepper oyster and jumbo prawn tempura: horseradish ice cream, umami seaweed dip and a sweet pimento squeeze
• Buttered green and white asparagus: crisp deep fried egg and textures of bacon, ham and pancetta

Main Courses
• Salt Marsh lamb rack with slow cooked glazed lamb breast and mini crafted shepherd’s pie: samphire shoots, butternut squash purée and a rosemary and mint jelly
• Butter poached lobster tail and glazed pavé of boneless beef short rib: sour cream crushed new potatoes and a melting cheese lollipop
• Loin of wild boar with a smoked pork cheek croquette and Lancashire black pudding: beetroot and blackberry cabbage, vanilla charred pear and boulangère potatoes
• Herb roasted poulet de Bresse: chicken pastilla, vegetable dauphinoise, baby leeks, morel velouté and chorizo Foam

Desserts
• Black Forest popping candy torte: Dorset cherry ice cream and a shot of New York cream soda
• Caramelised apple crumble: flaming apple and sherry sorbet and a rhubarb and custard cream
• Lime leaf pannacotta and coconut butter milk foam: caramelised puff pastry and Alphonso mango relish
• Glazed banana with a Caribbean demerara rum tot: peanut butter parfait and aerated dark chocolate

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 38.33 + 6.71%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 63.83 +4.25%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.75 + 1.10%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.32 + 7.32%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
While on a cruise, what should you do if you hear seven (7) or more short blasts on the ship's whistle and General Alarm, followed by one (1) long blast?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - The STEFAN BATORY or Polish Ocean Lines was the last vessel with regularly scheduled trans-atlantic service (aside from the QE2). In her earlier Holland America life she was named MAASDAM.
courtesy of Christopher in L.A.


Cruise News - October 20, 2014

Royal Caribbean Brings Wi-Fi to NYC Subway
Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape LibertyThe world’s first smartship Quantum of the Seas is set to arrive into New York Harbor on Nov. 10, 2014, and Royal Caribbean is counting down the days until her big debut. In anticipation of the ship’s arrival, Quantum of the Seas is making waves across NYC billboards, screens and digital displays capturing the attention of New Yorkers everywhere…including underground.

With Quantum of the Seas introducing a wave of technological features that have never before been possible at sea, including ultrafast wireless capability that allows for unprecedented connectivity, the cruise line partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to bring free Wi-Fi to underground subway platforms in Manhattan and Queens.

Highlights of Quantum of the Seas range from RipCord by iFLY, a heart pounding skydiving experience, to Bionic Bar, which is home to the world’s first robotic bartenders, a number of first-at-sea experiences including bumper cars and roller skating, and North Star, an engineering marvel that gently rises more than 300 feet in the air to take guests on a spectacular journey with awe-inspiring, 360-degree views.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms.

Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries.

CLIA Details Protocol in Resonse to Carnival Magic Ebola Scare/Overreaction
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) President and CEO, Christine Duffy, issued the following statement today regarding the successful disembarkation of a passenger on the Carnival Magic who was under self-monitoring for potential exposure to Ebola.

CLIA Details Protocol in Resonse to Carnival Magic Ebola Scare/Overreaction"CLIA is very pleased that the passenger, who was asymptomatic, has tested negative for Ebola and was safely disembarked with her loved one at the Port of Galveston today, which is the homeport of Carnival Magic. We commend Carnival and the public health authorities for their effective and successful response in managing this situation professionally and with transparent and regular communication to everyone onboard the ship and to the public. We also congratulate all of the ship's passengers and Crewmembers, who responded calmly and responsibly to the directions of the ship's officers and public health authorities.

"CLIA and its member cruise lines have worked diligently and in conjunction with public health authorities to develop and distribute to all cruise line members strong protocols, and additional guidance, to reduce even further the already low risk of Ebola on a cruise ship. These prevention measures apply to passengers, crew and visitors and include:

• Denial of boarding to anyone arriving from countries designated with a Level 3 Travel Health warning by CDC.

• Denial of boarding to anyone who traveled to, in or through those countries within 21 days before embarkation.

• "Contact screening," in addition to travel history screening, and denial of boarding for anyone who had physical contact with, or helped care for, a person with Ebola within 21 days before embarkation.

"These measures are not static. CLIA and its member cruise lines are continually evaluating the situation with Ebola and are in regular contact with public health officials to assess the need to enhance the industry's protocols. Out of an abundance of caution and care for the well-being of our guests and Crewmembers, our measures typically go beyond what is technically required.

"We are also actively engaged with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other sectors of the travel industry, to assist the Federal government in quickly establishing a robust protocol for identifying any member of the traveling public designated by the CDC for monitoring.

"CLIA and its member cruise lines remain vigilant in our efforts to provide for the well-being of our guests and Crewmembers."

Princess Launches Honeymoon Wishes Online Registry
Princess Cruises is helping newlyweds enjoy the honeymoon of their dreams with a new online Honeymoon Wishes Registry. Couples can easily sign up at the line’s honeymoon registry page, select desired gifts to enhance their cruise vacation and share with family and friends.

Princess Launches Honeymoon Wishes Online RegistryThis feature allows couples to choose from a list of options they wish to enjoy on their honeymoon, from contributions to the cruise, drinks by the pool, specialty dining, relaxing spa treatments and shore excursions. All gifts are applied as an onboard credit to the couple’s stateroom account to use on board during their honeymoon cruise. Couples can also create a wedding website to share photos and details about how they met, their engagement and wedding, e-mail their friends and family directing them to the registry and print out announcement cards that can be shared.

“Our new online Honeymoon Wishes Registry feature gives newlyweds a simple way to customize their honeymoon cruise and select their desired amenities to enjoy onboard,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “For the last 16 years, we’ve made wedding dreams come true with our unique weddings at sea program and this new offering is a wonderful extension to give couples ease and flexibility in creating their own gift registries.”

When Princess launched its seagoing weddings program in 1998, the cruise line made maritime and marriage history - and turned cruising lore into reality - by having the captain join couples in marriage. Until that point, there had been a common misconception that any ship captain was empowered to join couples in matrimony, but in truth, no such ceremony was ever conducted aboard a major cruise ship.

Today, Princess’ “Tie the Knot” wedding program has grown to not only offer these special at-sea wedding ceremonies on its cruise ships, but also include fleet-wide harborside ceremonies in embarkation ports or weddings ashore in select ports of call. Together these options have created one of the cruise industry’s most diverse and unique wedding programs, offering the convenience of a wedding and honeymoon in one customizable package that makes this milestone celebration easy and hassle-free.

Holland America Announces Management Changes
Joe Slattery has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, global marketing and sales for Holland America Line. In this newly created role, Slattery will oversee marketing and distribution in all worldwide markets, developing and executing initiatives that support Holland America Line’s revenue growth objectives.

Joe Slattery has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, global marketing and sales for Holland America LineSlattery — a 21-year company veteran — will continue to report to Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs.

“Joe has significantly expanded the reach and depth of our international sales initiatives, and the success of our offices in Rotterdam, the U.K. and Australia, and our growth in emerging markets around the world, can be attributed to his guidance,” said Meadows. “We are confident that all of our global markets will benefit from his strong vision and leadership and we congratulate him on this well-deserved promotion.”

Since 2008, Slattery has been Holland America Line’s vice president, international sales and marketing. Since joining the company in 1993 as a marketing product manager, Slattery has accumulated a wide range of experience in multiple executive roles, including vice president, revenue planning, and vice president, revenue marketing, where he was responsible for deployment and itinerary planning, revenue management and direct marketing.

Mark Kammerer has been named vice president, international marketing and sales for Holland America Line and Seabourn. In this role, he will be responsible for the companies’ sales offices in the U.K., the Netherlands and Australia, as well as Holland America Line and Seabourn’s growing international business.

Kammerer will report to Joe Slattery, Holland America Line’s senior vice president, global marketing and sales.

“Mark brings incredible knowledge and experience to this position, and his expertise supports the continued growth in our international presence,” said Slattery. “Mark has proven himself to be a creative thinker and inspiring leader, and I look forward to working with him.”

In his previous positions at Holland America Line, Kammerer was responsible for marketing and North American sales, as well as worldwide cruise marketing. Prior to joining the cruise line, Kammerer worked at several leading travel industry organizations including Virtuoso and Expedia Inc.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 35.92 + 6.02%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 61.23 +10.62%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.72 - 6.21%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 32.91 + 2.94%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Name the former Holland America liner that along with QE2 ended up being one of last two passenger ships to cross the Atlantic on a regular basis. What was her name when she was retired in 1988 and whom did she sail for?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which famous liner included the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?

Answer - It was the Empress of Britain which had the the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?
courtesy of William Niff


Cruise News - October 13, 2014

Oasis of the Seas Returns From Drydock
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas emerged from a 14-day drydock today with a new look including reimagined dining, game-changing high-speed internet, exciting new retail offerings, a new popular and favorite Broadway show, new suites with exclusive suite dining and lounge. Sistership Allure of the Seas will follow suit in May 2015 with nearly identical enhancements. During their respective drydock, each ship’s seven neighborhoods will be enhanced as part of the cruises line’s Royal Advantage commitment to deliver the best vacation offerings and to introduce guests to even more new features and personalized experiences that can only be found when sailing with Royal Caribbean.

Oasis of the Seas, at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, during her 14-day drydock “Royal Caribbean’s legacy of innovation brought the revolutionary Oasis-class ships to life and in that spirit, during the Oasis of the Seas’ and Allure of the Seas’ drydocks we are adding features and experiences to wow our guests even more,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “One of the many exciting new features is Dynamic Dining, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests. We are expanding this new dining program, in line with our Royal Advantage commitment, to offer our guests and prospective consumers the amenities that appeal most to them according to the feedback we receive.”

Even More New Culinary Concepts:

• A key element of any vacation, dining provides vacation-goers with the opportunity to experience new flavors and indulge in old favorites. Royal Caribbean’s Dynamic Dining, allows guests to tempt their taste buds with more choice and flexibility than ever before by offering guests a landscape of 20 restaurants, as vast and varied as dining in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
• Royal Caribbean has recreated the original Oasis-class three-story main dining room into three distinct complimentary venues introducing bold new concepts each with their own cuisine and ambiance:
• American Icon Grill offers guests a take on the classic American road trip pulling together best-loved regional favorites into one comfort-style menu;
• Silk is a vibrant and exotic destination where the spices of the Far East bring new flavor to adventurous palates through a Pan-Asian menu;
• The Grande, where every night is formal night, offers an elegant ambiance and refined cuisine.

Guests will enjoy menus of the new concepts beginning March 14, 2015, onboard Oasis of the Seas. Guests sailing Oasis of the Seas prior to March 14, will enjoy the traditional dining room experience in the newly designed spaces.

As part of Dynamic Dining guests will have full control of their own epicurean journey with a tantalizing selection of specialty restaurants including four new unique concepts:

• Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, a reimagined Izumi Japanese Cuisine offering a full teppanyaki menu as well as fresh and flavorful sushi rolls and sashimi;
• Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar, first introduced aboard Navigator of the Seas to rave reviews, will feature a mouthwatering menu of authentic, modern and unexpected Mexican dishes including hand-made tableside guacamole. These dishes can be complemented by a curated beverage menu of tequilas, mezcal, and Mexican beers, as well as delicious sangrias and tableside-mixed margaritas;
• Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, a unique culinary adventure for the senses where Royal Caribbean chefs twist their culinary kaleidoscopes in a whimsical setting that challenges the imagination with never-before-seen fare;
• Coastal Kitchen is an exclusive restaurant for suite guests and Pinnacle members, that fuses Mediterranean influences with the unmatched riches of California’s bountiful farmlands and features. The experience is complemented by a robust wine list, curated specifically for the venue.

Finally guests will continue to enjoy Giovanni’s Table, 150 Central Park and Vintage Wine Bar, the hugely successful specialty dining concepts introduced on the Oasis-class in 2009.

Technology - Royal Caribbean’s commitment to provide the best vacation experience is at the heart of its Royal Advantage program which takes its latest innovations and most popular features and expands them to even its newest ships, such as:

• Boatloads of Bandwidth, the game-changing partnership with technology partner O3b that will offer guests onboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas connectivity that matches fast broadband connections onshore and is greater than all other cruise ships combined. These new capabilities, allow the cruise line to offer affordable, easy-to-use Internet packages so that guests may watch streaming video, check email, share images on social media and enjoy face-to-face video conversations – even in the middle of the ocean.
• Royal iQ is a new app that puts guests in charge of their vacation choices. Thanks to the dramatically improved connectivity, Royal iQ is able to continue dining reservations, shore excursions and spa appointments onboard, through both a downloadable app and at freestanding iQ stations around the ship. Guests also can use Royal iQ as a convenient calendar that provides at-a-glance views of their program and to keep in touch with one another and home via phone and text capabilities.

New Exclusive Suite Experience - Royal Caribbean is introducing 10 new suites on Oasis-class ships, offering breathtaking views of the ocean or the ships’ signature AquaTheater and Boardwalk neighborhood and includes, two Royal Suites, six Grand Suites and two Royal Family Suites, which can accommodate up to six guests. These suites offer a new level of sophistication when paired with the variety of new exclusive suite amenities that include:

• The Suite Lounge, an exclusive lounge area for suite guests to relax offering unmatched expansive views of the ship and sea;
• The Sun Deck, a new sun deck area that gives suites guests the chance to soak-up and relax in the Caribbean sun with lounge furniture, shaded and seating areas and private service;
• Coastal Kitchen is a suites only full-service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Mediterranean flare.

New Broadway Show - Oasis of the Seas’ introduced the first-ever, fully-licensed Broadway show at sea and now, the ship will bring one of the longest running productions on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’sTony award winning CATS to sea for the first time. Beginning June 2015, sister ship Allure of the Seas will feature MAMMA MIA!, the smash hit musical based on the story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs.

Superior Shopping at Sea - Known for its first at sea offerings, Royal Caribbean is introducing the playfully sophisticated designs of kate spade new york to Oasis-class on its popular Royal Promenade, a first at sea. Rounding out the diverse onboard shopping are two guest favorites Michael Kors and the Britto Art Gallery, as well as a whole new line-up of merchandise and fashion jewelry such as, Alexis Bittar, Uno de 50, Lauren G Adams, and Nina Nguyen.

Norwegian Cruise Line Appoints New President and Chief Operating Officer
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: NCLH) announced today that hospitality veteran Drew Madsen has joined as president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. Madsen brings a strong track record of success to Norwegian with more than 30 years of leadership experience in the hospitality and consumer products industry, most recently as president and chief operating officer at Darden Restaurants, Inc., the world's largest full-service restaurant company.

Norwegian Cruise Line Appoints New President and Chief Operating Officer"Having delivered exceptional results during his tenure at Darden, Drew has a wealth of experience to draw upon as he joins Norwegian," said Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "We are at an exciting point in our company's history. With the upcoming acquisition of Prestige Cruises International, Inc., it is the opportune time to add such a talented individual to our already diversified leadership team to focus on the core day-to-day business. I am confident in Drew as a results-oriented, highly collaborative and thoughtful leader who will continue to propel Norwegian on our positive growth trajectory."

Madsen played an instrumental role in establishing Darden as the most successful multi-brand operator in the full-service restaurant industry, increasing sales from $4.8 billion to $8.6 billion, while delivering a cumulative total shareholder return of 110% that significantly exceeded the S&P 500 by more than 47%. He also had the distinction of having Darden recognized as one of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" ? a first for the food service industry that was repeated for three consecutive years.

Prior to Darden, Drew held leadership and marketing positions at James River Corporation and General Mills, among others. Throughout his career, he has consistently demonstrated an ability to produce results that led to improved operating margins, increased guest satisfaction, superior market penetration and an enhanced level of employee fulfillment.

"I am thrilled to be starting the next chapter of my career at Norwegian Cruise Line," said Madsen. "I am looking forward to ensuring that Norwegian excels in every facet of operation and that we continue to produce industry leading financial results, while also bringing new ideas and ways of doing business that improve guest satisfaction and team member involvement."

Madsen holds a master of business administration with distinction from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's degree in economics from DePauw University.

Keel-Laying Ceremony Held For New Carnival Vista
ms Veendam weaves among the stunning Hawaiian IslandsCarnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship, the 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista, achieved a significant construction milestone with a traditional keel-laying ceremony held earlier today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

The 133,500-ton vessel – the largest “Fun Ship” ever constructed – is set to debut in spring 2016.

The ceremony – which dates back hundreds of years – signifies the official start of construction of a seagoing vessel.

The 25th vessel in Carnival’s fleet, Carnival Vista will feature a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 dining, bar and entertainment offerings as well as several innovations unique to this vessel.

Additional design details, as well as homeport and itinerary information, are expected to be unveiled early next year

Three HAL Ships Sail to Mexico and Hawaii in 2014
From fall 2014 through spring 2015, Holland America Line heads to the tropics of Hawaii and explores the spirit of Mexico with a variety of itineraries ranging in length from seven to 18 days. Two ships will sail the azure waters of Mexico, while ms Veendam weaves among the stunning Hawaiian Islands.

ms Veendam weaves among the stunning Hawaiian Islands"Holland America Line carefully crafts our itineraries to showcase the best of each region, and the Mexico and Hawaii itineraries are the ultimate journey for any traveler looking to visit these destinations," said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line's executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs. "From our onboard enrichment programming to the selection of ports, guests cruising on one of our elegant mid-size ships will have the most immersive and memorable experience possible."

The line's cruises to Mexico on ms Veendam and ms Statendam from October 2014 through March 2015 visit some of the most beautiful ports in the country and conveniently sail roundtrip San Diego, Calif. Veendam sails seven-day Mexican Riviera itineraries to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, with scenic cruising in Bahia Magdalena. Statendam offers a 12-day Sea of Cortez adventure that highlights six Mexican ports and an overnight at Puerto Vallarta.

The five sailings to Hawaii in winter and spring 2014-15 aboard ms Veendam feature relaxing days at sea and calls at five Hawaiian ports. These 17- and 18-day itineraries also sail roundtrip from San Diego. Select back-to-back Veendam itineraries in November and December can be combined to form the ultimate 24- or 25-day Mexico and Hawaii Collectors' Voyage.

During the longer sailings with more sea days, guests can enjoy all of the onboard experiences that are exclusive to the premium cruise line. On each of these cruises guests will get to take part in cultural activities such as lei making, ukulele lessons, live mariachi band concerts and an extensive lecture lineup as part of Holland America Line's "On Location" program. The itinerary sets the theme for guests to indulge in localized experiences that make time onboard as enriching as visiting the ports of call through lectures, demonstrations and performances.

Princess Cruises to Mark 50th Anniversary with Onboard Celebrations
The 50th anniversary of Princess Cruises will be especially memorable for guests cruising in 2015, as they will be treated to festive onboard celebrations including a themed menu, cocktails and entertainment.

Princess Cruises to Mark 50th Anniversary with Onboard Celebrations"We love helping our guests celebrate their many milestone occasions aboard their cruises, so to be able to mark our company's golden anniversary with them in 2015 is very special," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "We've developed many not-to-be-missed experiences commemorating our 50th and we know our guests will thoroughly enjoy the lively atmosphere found on board during our anniversary year."

The following anniversary offerings will be introduced across the fleet early in 2015:

• Love Boat Disco Deck Party – To honor the iconic role The Love Boat played in the line's history, a new Love Boat Disco Party will celebrate the beloved program by creating an exciting 70's theme night with a few surprises. Movies Under the Stars will showcase video messages from the original Love Boat cast, special montages from the show, a Love Boat sing-a-long and show trivia, 70's music videos and even a live kiss cam. The party will also feature a production number, a celebration of weddings and anniversaries of guests onboard, a photo opportunity with a Love Boat life ring and plenty of dancing with a party band.

• Festive Food - One night on every cruise, the main dining rooms will present a special souvenir menu, featuring commemorative dishes from the past five decades, including Duck Terrine with Apricot Preserves and Filet of Turbot with Truffle Chive Sauce. Known for offering "the best pizza at sea," Princess chefs will also introduce a variety of new anniversary pizzas such as Spicy Tomato & Shrimp, Potato, Bacon & Brie and Thai.

• Chocolate Journeys – As part of the new "Chocolate Journeys" experience, renowned master pastry chef and chocolatier Norman Love has created two special 50th anniversary desserts that will be served to guests during their cruise vacations - Chocolate Raspberry Mousse with Vanilla Creme Brulee and Crunchy Shortbread or Moist Chocolate Dome with Raspberry Creme Brulee and Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse. These two desserts will alternate from one voyage to another.

• Cheers to 50 Years – Guests can sip inventive cocktails from renowned mixologist Spike Marchant along with popular drinks through the decades - from a classic martini to a pina colada. A special half-bottle anniversary-labeled Prosecco will be offered and the new Seawitch West Coast IPA craft beer especially brewed for the 50th anniversary will be available.

• Let Us Entertain You – A 50th celebration in the signature Piazza will feature a golden balloon drop and some balloons will even feature surprise giveaway items hidden inside. A special anniversary song, "Here's to Princess," celebrating the line's history will also be performed. Guests can also compete in exciting game shows and test their knowledge with the Princess Trivia Challenge - 50th Anniversary edition. Plus, on select sailings, guests can dance to the music of tribute bands - like the Beatlemaniacs - bringing the greatest hits over the decades to life.

• 50th Anniversary Decor and Guest Giveaways – Anniversary decor and signage will be displayed from the time guests arrive in the terminal (domestic home ports only) and be visible through various onboard touches, including a spectacular anniversary display cake presented in the atrium. A 50th anniversary tote bag and commemorative time line will be placed in each guest stateroom upon embarkation. In addition, guests will notice the 50th anniversary logo on their stateroom key cards and on the daily Princess Patter. A series of videos will also play on stateroom televisions that share the company's history and milestone moments. Each cruise ship in the fleet will also be adorned with a 50th anniversary flag on the bow.

• Commemorative Keepsakes – The onboard boutiques, voted "Best Onboard Shopping" six consecutive years by Porthole magazine, will offer limited edition merchandise and exclusive offers during the anniversary celebration. Plus, the photo department will have commemorative backdrops and folios to capture the memories of guests' cruise vacations.

The 50th anniversary officially kicks off with the naming ceremony of Regal Princess on November 5, 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale by the original Love Boat cast members before she sets sail for her maiden season of Caribbean cruises. Some of the 50th anniversary onboard offerings will be available aboard Regal Princess beginning in November and roll out to the rest of the fleet in early 2015.

Viking Ocean Cruises Announces Captain Of Viking Star
Captain Gulleik SvalastogViking Ocean Cruises today announced that Captain Gulleik Svalastog will be at the helm of its first ocean ship – the 930-passenger Viking Star – which will take on its first guests in April 2015.

Leveraging his experience as a cruise captain in Norway, Captain Svalastog will command and oversee the operation, crew and safety of the ship in its maiden season in Scandinavia and the Baltic; and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean. Viking has also released today a new online video interview with Captain Svalastog.

Svalastog brings 45 years of sailing experience to Viking Ocean Cruises. He has held a variety of senior ship management positions and has worked as superintendent for Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises and as Lead Auditor for Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

His most recent position held was captain of Color Line Cruises. Svalastog is currently a member of the team overseeing the final stage of outfitting and interior build-out for Viking Star, which touched water for the first time in June 2014 at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard and will be christened in May 2015.

"We could not ask for a better captain for our first ocean ship," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Captain Svalastog brings an impeccable record that will undoubtedly guide Viking Star and her guests though a successful maiden season."

Carnival Corporation Signs Agreement With Largest Chinese Shipyard
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise company, today announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) to explore the possibility of a joint venture aimed at accelerating the development and growth of the Chinese cruise industry, expected to be one of the largest cruise markets in the world with 4.5 million passengers by 2020, according to the Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT).

Carnival Corporation Signs Agreement With Largest Chinese ShipyardBecoming official at a signing ceremony today at the Ninth China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo inTianjin, the MOU outlines the framework for exploration of a partnership between Carnival Corporation and the CSSC that includes the possibility of forming a shipbuilding joint venture that could become a three-way arrangement involving Fincantieri ofItaly, the world's largest cruise ship building company, in support of the Chinese government's plans to grow the cruising industry inChina and meet escalating demand for cruises from Chinese travelers.

As part of the possible shipbuilding joint venture, Carnival Corporation would work closely with CSSC and Fincantieri to help define the first-ever, world-class cruise ship built in China. Carnival Corporation, the world's leading cruise operator, has been involved in building modern cruise ships that exceed guest expectations more than any entity in the world. Under the joint venture concept, Carnival Corporation would provide its ship design and shipbuilding expertise to create the vision, definition and overall specifications for theChina-built cruise ship.

"This is really a breakthrough day for all of us at Carnival, as well as our friends at the CSSC and all Chinese travelers who are increasingly turning to cruises for their vacation experiences," saidArnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "This landmark agreement enables us to work closely with our partners at the CSSC to fully explore the possibility of forming a joint venture to further developChina into a leading cruise market, supporting local economic development and bringing vacation enjoyment to millions. We look forward to getting to work and lending the expertise of many talented people across Carnival Corporation."

In the past year, the Chinese Ministry of Transport has expressed its strong desire to transformChina into a leading global cruise market, including investments in infrastructure and developing a strong domestic cruise presence to help spur growth in cruising as a key component of the expanding tourism industry inChina.

The MOT projects China to be the second largest global cruise market after the U.S. in the next several years based on economic growth, increased spending power of Chinese consumers and growing demand for cruise vacations inChina. Partnerships like the relationship being fully explored between CSSC and Carnival support the MOT's pro-growth cruise policies designed to spur new economic development from tourism inChina.

Carnival Corporation just recently announced its plans for immediate capacity growth in China in 2015 to meet growing demand. With Costa Cruises adding the Costa Serena to its fleet in China in April of next year, Carnival Corporation will be the first global cruise company with four ships homeported in China, growing the company's leading market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015. Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China.

With its Costa and Princess brands homeporting ships in China, Carnival Corporation offers Chinese travelers a diversified cruising product with two brands targeting two different segments of travelers. Having multiple brands enables Carnival to meet and exceed guest expectations on the cruises it operates in China by closely matching passenger tastes with the right brand experience. In total, Carnival will have 220 port calls from five brands in China in 2014, which is 15 percent of the company's total port calls in all of Asia – a region where Carnival doubled its market share over the past two years

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 33.88 - 14.23%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 55.35 - 16.09%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.90 - 3.97%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 31.97 - 10.20%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which famous liner included the Knickerbocker Bar with artwork depicting the evolution of the cocktail?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which ship was the first to offer movies at sea?

Answer - The United States Shipping Board's MARTHA WASHINGTON, operating in the early 1920's for Munson Line on trips from the United States to Brasil, Uruguay and Argentina. The movies were shown on deck.
courtesy of Mark Smith


Cruise News - October 6, 2014

SS United States Conservancy Has "High Hopes" To Save Famous Liner;
Reaches Major Funding Milestone

"But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes.
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes"

Those lyrics are from a song called "High Hopes" which was made popular by Frank Sinatra in the late 1950's. The song describes a number of scenarios where impossible odds are seemingly overcome through of a combination of positive attitude and perseverance.

SS United StatesDuring 1959, the year that song first became popular, the passenger liner SS United States - the flagship of the United States Lines - had been in service for seven years and was carrying thousands of passengers a week across the Atlantic in comfort and luxury.

At 990 feet in length, the SS United States was a technical marvel designed by legendary marine architect, William Francis Gibbs and when she entered service in 1952 she was the pride of the American merchant fleet. Her first passage from Ambrose Lighthouse to Bishops Rock smashed the record for fastest crossing of the Atlantic in 3 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes.

It has been more than 55 years since "High Hopes" first became a hit and while the song has faded from the public's memory and become part of a forgotten past, amazingly the SS United States is very much a part of the here and now.

For the past 18 years the once famous liner has been tied up at Pier 84 in South Philadelphia looking for a new life. The fact that a 53,000 ton ship built over 60 years ago is still around and is the centerpiece of several proposals for re-purposing the ship as a mixed-use permanently moored vessel on the New York waterfront is truly amazing and the direct result of the same combination of positive attitude and perseverance highlighted in the song.

Unfortunately, positive attitude and perseverance can only take a project so far. For the resurrection of the SS United States to come to fruition it will take millions of dollars of investment money and the cooperation of state and local authorities.

According to the SS United States Conservancy, the group that currently owns the SS United States, two detailed proposals have recently been submitted to New York City officials and they are now in talks regarding if and how next steps can emerge.

But time is short and it remains to be seen whether the Conservancy will be able to raise enough money to see their "high hopes" become reality.

In late September, the Conservancy announced that it will need to make a determination about the ship's future by the end of the month unless resources are found in short order to help cover the vessel's ongoing maintenance costs. Specifically, that means they will need to determine whether to sell or scrap the historic ship, unless they have entered into a funded option with a developer or have succeeded in attracting major new philanthropic support.

SS United States"We need someone with vision to step in and save the United States. We've made great strides in recent months, but what we need now is more time. This is an opportunity for a true hero to come forward and ensure the great potential of this project is realized. Discussions are underway with city and state officials to confirm that our plans meet regulatory guidelines and provide significant economic benefits, but the clock is ticking," said the Conservancy's Executive Director Susan Gibbs.

The ship has faced its end several times before. Most recently in 2011, the SS United States was just days away from being scrapped when a major gift to the Conservancy helped the grassroots organization purchase the vessel.

The Conservancy spends more than $60,000 per month to pay for the ship's dockage, insurance and maintenance costs at her current pier in Philadelphia. The organization is funded by private donations and has not received any government support.

On September 30th, the Conservancy announced that they had made progress and were within $2,072 from reaching a goal that would generate a matching fund grant of $100,000 from Jim Pollin who had donated $120,000 to the Conservancy this past June. At the time of that donation, Pollin had pledged to donate an additional $100,000 if the Conservancy succeeded in matching that amount through its fundraising efforts.

Then just this week the Conservancy announced that it had raised $122,165 from donors in 44 states in 17 countries in amounts spanning one dollar to ten thousand. In response, Jim Pollin upped the ante: "Our nation's flagship isn't just an historic vessel," Pollin said. "It also represents the people of a great and determined nation that once again have demonstrated they can rise to any challenge. In response to the generosity of so many supporters of the SS United States, I am proud to match their recent contributions with an additional donation of $120,000 to save this enduring symbol of our country."

The good news is that thanks to this fundraising success, the ship is safe for now. But the situation remains critical, and as the Conservancy continues to negotiate with New York developers, its hopes remain high that the vessel will soon be heading into drydock in anticipation of a star-spangled journey to a new port of call.

Check back for updates as the story of the SS United States continues.

P&O Unveils Britannia's Livery
P&O Unveils Britannia's LiveryP&O announced this week that it as put the finishing touches to the brand new livery on the newest ship in their fleet; Britannia. She's the largest ship built for Britain and will be officially named in her glittering naming ceremony in Southampton in March 2015.

The bold new look on the bow features the world's largest contemporary version of the Union Flag, which required huge volumes of paint! In total, the cruise line said that it needed 280 litres of red paint, 40 litres red for the shadow, 80 litres of blue, 20 litres of blue for the shadow and 160 litres for the big logo of P&O Cruises on the front of the bow.

Britannia will also have two distinctive blue funnels carrying an illuminated rising sun motif, which depicts the Oriental part of the Peninsular and Oriental (P&O) name on our coat of arms.

When working to full capacity, Britannia’s four engines will generate 62.4 Megawatts or 84,000 horsepower which is equivalent to the power generated by 168 supercars, allowing the 141,000 ton ship to cruise at a speed of 22 knots.

Britannia’s maiden season will see the ship sail from Southampton to the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and the Baltic Sea, as well as offering a range of short breaks and a special round Britain cruise. The ship will then transfer to the Caribbean for the winter season sailing a range of 15 night fly/cruise itineraries from Barbados.

Crystal Symphony Returns From Dry Dock
Crystal Symphony has emerged from a two-week, $20 million-plus dry dock redesign with lushly reimagined spaces, indoors and out. Luxury cruise leader Crystal Cruises unveiled the ship's new look on September 27, as guests embarked on an eight-day Hamburg-Lisbon voyage, greeted by contemporary and elegant new designs in the Crystal Plaza and adjacent Crystal Cove Bar area – the ship's main activity "hubs". Luxury travelers on board will also experience a new outdoor "Fitness Garden" spanning three aft decks; top of the line indoor fitness equipment; redesigned spa and casino spaces; additional PURE allergy-friendly staterooms; and technological upgrades throughout the ship.

2014 redesign of the Crystal Symphony Crystal Plaza"We continue to invest in creating a contemporary and sumptuous environment that meets the travelers' desire," says Crystal President and COO, Edie Rodriguez. "The new features and spaces added during this dry dock are astounding, and offer our guests the relaxed, yet luxurious comfort that they have come to expect and enjoy on Crystal Cruises."

Highlights of the intensive redesign include:

• Fitness spaces – A brand new outdoor Fitness Garden was added to decks 7, 8 and 12 aft, featuring a "Curated Self-Guided Movement Journey" utilizing the glass-blasted, stainless steel equipment, with adjustments for virtually every fitness level. Deck 12's indoor Fitness Center boasts new equipment from Technogym -- the official choice for Olympic and World Cup competitors – including brand new cardio equipment plus an expanded collection of Technogym's Kinesis™ strength training equipment. This new addition makes Crystal an industry-first to feature the top of the line Artis equipment at sea. The new indoor fitness experience is the most technologically-advanced available with an intuitive, tablet-like Unity™ interface programming system enabling guests to connect to music, data, workout-tracking, or TV-watching.

• Crystal Plaza – The main lobby area (including the Reception, Front Desk, and Concierge sections), and the bustling "hub" on board, boasts added drama with a new towering waterfall, a rich color palette of indigo and bronze, bespoke carpets, new upholstery and tables for fresh flowers complementing the existing marble floors and wood balustrade and stair details. These contemporary designs were all inspired by designer Christopher Farr, creating lasting first impressions for guests as they embark on their journey.

• Cove Bar – New and up-cycled furniture, contrasting indigo and cream color palette, artwork and metal-work cocktail tables reflect an elegant luxury yacht setting, while a revised layout allows for more social group seating and places the bar as the centerpiece of the new space. New sculptural furniture pieces, drapery, artwork, and a large scale custom carpet design reflect a fluid and flowing design concept, and carry the design across the space.

• Stateroom upgrades –48 newly converted PURE hypoallergenic luxury staterooms are now available on the ship, offering a comprehensive, chemical- and odor-free indoor environment solution. With a state-of-the-art medical grade air purifier discreetly installed to filter out 99.9% of all airborne impurities on an ongoing basis, guests can expect relief from allergies and more sound sleep, thus enhancing the overall relaxation and recuperation expected from a vacation.

• Spa and Salon – Colorful new tiles adorn the steam room and changing areas in the men's and women's spa facilities, while the salon has been upgraded with a new pedicure area and wall coverings.

• Casino – The port side wall was removed to create a more open, accessible space, showcasing a modified layout, and new slot machines.

• The Bistro – New seating and decor reflects a European bistro in a modern way, bringing fresh life to one of the most popular meeting and dining spots on the ship. Tech upgrades – New digital signage will display important cruise and programming details throughout the ship on 14 flat screen monitors near the ship's lounges, theatres, dining and sales areas.

• Indoor & outdoor refreshments – Deck 10 staterooms and Penthouses now sport new verandah furniture, while carpets for all deluxe staterooms (415 in all), as well as guest corridors on four decks, were replaced.

• Shopping – Facets now features watches from luxury designers Hublot, Jaegar LeCoulture and Zenith.

Carnival Corporation Building Crew Training Facility in the Netherlands
Carnival Corporation & plc today finalized its land purchase in Almere, Netherlands, marking the official start of development for its state-of-the-art training facility that will serve 6,500 deck and technical officers from all nine of its global cruise brands each year. The centerpiece of the new campus will be a new and three-times-larger Center for Simulator Maritime Training (CSMART), Carnival Corporation's world-class maritime training, professional development and research facility, already operating in Almere.

Carnival worked with Dutch property group AMVEST Vastgoed B.V. in the Netherlands to purchase the seven-acre property along the coast in DUIN, a planned business and residential community in Almere, one of Europe's newest and fastest growing cities, conveniently located on the outskirts of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

The official ceremony following the land transfer for Carnival Corporation's new CSMART facility in Almere, NetherlandsThe new CSMART facility, expected to open in 2016, will continue to be a key to Carnival Corporation as the company works to enhance, expand and streamline its global training efforts across all nine of its cruise brands. The courses provided by Carnival at both the original and new facilities set a higher standard for training in the cruising industry that exceeds industry regulations. As the world's largest cruise company, the corporation has recognized the importance of ensuring training resources keep up with both the growth of the business and advancements in cruise ship technology.

"Carnival has established a world-class center for maritime training and research featuring the latest innovations in technology, and expanding our facility and capabilities underscores the company's top priority -- consistently exceeding our guests' expectations by providing great vacations and memories," said David Christie, senior vice president of maritime quality assurance for Carnival Corporation. "We are eager to begin building our new center in a city that has been a wonderful home for CSMART and in a development that provides a great setting for our deck and technical officers."

"Having Carnival Corporation continue to maintain its presence in our city and make a significant investment here is a great vote of confidence from a major global enterprise that we believe will help spur development for Almere, which is already one of the fastest growing cities in Europe," said Almere Alderman Henk Mulder. "This is exciting news not just for Almere, but the entire region and country."

"Carnival's training center will seamlessly fit into AMVEST's development plans for our 250-acre DUIN project on Almere's lake shore," said AMVEST Vastgoed B.V. CEO Wienke Bodewes, "The center will be the first anchor in our development which will feature dunes and beaches, a marina and a boulevard, homes, apartments, shops and offices – all of which complement a maritime enterprise like Carnival and will serve as great resources for visitors to the CSMART training campus."

The new and expanded facility will build on the positive economic impact continuing to be made by Carnival Corporation in Almere and the Netherlands by the original facility, which was opened in 2009. The center being built in DUIN and the original facility are the product of Carnival Corporation's $50 million investment in CSMART, supporting the company's commitment to providing industry-leading training for its deck and technical officers. The center is expected to employ up to 52 individuals. As more Carnival representatives come to the expanded center than ever before, significant revenue and commerce will be generated for businesses and people in the area, including Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, transportation services, food suppliers and others.

Carnival Corporation made the decision to bring the original center to Almere for several reasons, including its location near Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, a modern international airport that serves as one of the key hubs in Europe, the long tradition of maritime excellence in the Netherlands and the reputation of the region as a welcoming place to do business. These reasons paired with the current success of the original facility helped the company make the decision to also develop its new facility in Almere.

The current CSMART facility features the most advanced equipment and instructional tools available for captains, officers and engineers – this technology will also be incorporated into the new center on a larger scale with even more advanced additions. Four full mission bridge simulators including bridge wings, four engine room simulators, nine smaller part task simulators and the industry's first fully equipped training safety center will provide participants with a superior maritime training experience.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in 2015.

Star Princess to Deliver Relief Supplies on Return to Cabo San Lucas
Star Princess to Deliver Relief Supplies on Return to Cabo San LucasStar Princess will call on Cabo San Lucas this Saturday, Oct. 4, for the first time following Hurricane Odile and bring needed relief supplies to area residents impacted by the storm. The Princess cruise ship will deliver pallets of bottled water, milk and paper products, among other supplies.

"The residents of Cabo San Lucas form one big hospitality community that regularly welcomes our ships' guests. We want to return that hospitality by giving back to them as they work to recover and prepare to receive visitors once again," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.

"The entire destination has been working tirelessly to reopen restaurants, shops and tours, and all of us at Princess appreciate and applaud their commitment to tourism and their tremendous effort to rebuild and restore so quickly," she added.

Star Princess will be the first Princess ship, and among the first of all cruise line ships, to visit Cabo San Lucas since Hurricane Odile hit the area in mid-September. The popular Princess Cruises west coast fall 2014 and spring 2015 sailings program includes a variety of 7, 9- and 10-day Mexico cruises on Grand Princess, Crown Princess and Star Princess. Panama Canal cruises on Island Princess also call on Mexico destinations including Cabo San Lucas.

A Yacht Bigger Than a Cruise Ship?

Move over Azzam, at 180m (590'), you're not long enough. Tough luck, Eclipse, at 163.5m (536'), you're yesterday's news. Goodbye Dubai, at 162m (531'), you've had your day in the sun.

Project "Triple Deuce" is coming, and at 222 meters (728.4'), it's going to send you, and other yachts in your category, into obscurity as this new build takes its place as the world's largest yacht.

To put this massive yacht in perspective for the layman, the sheer size of Triple Deuce even dwarfs some cruise shipsMost Expensive, Largest, Private Yacht Ever Built - "Project Triple Deuce is about to set the world on fire as not only the largest private yacht ever built, coming in at a whopping 222 meters (728.4'), but also the most expensive, at a cost of over $1 billion USD," said Craig Timm, yacht broker at 4Yacht, Inc., responsible for selling Project Triple Deuce to his client.

This Yacht Dwarfs Cruise Ships - To put this massive yacht in perspective for the layman, the sheer size of Triple Deuce even dwarfs some cruise ships. As an example, Costa Cruises has a ship named Costa Classic that is 722' long and carries 1,308 passengers and 590 crewmembers. But Triple Deuce is a private yacht, and is designed to carry only 36 guests in opulent luxury with a crew complement of 90-100.

In addition to being the longest private yacht in the world at 222 meters (728.4'), the yacht will have a beam of 24.9 meters (81.69'), and a draft of 4.8 meters (15.78').

This yacht will be no slouch in the speed department either, as its top speed will be in excess of 30 knots (35 MPH). To get to that speed, she will be powered by triple gas turbine engines making over 100,000 horsepower. The yacht also has no rudders, as electric podded propulsion units (think The Queen Mary 2) will handle maneuvering.

Owner And Guests Live Like Royalty - The owner's suite, at 275 square meters (2960 square feet) over two stories, will encompass nearly one full deck of space in the seven-deck yacht, and offer unparalleled views. It will feature two staterooms, and will include private access to a helipad and an elevator from an exclusive drive in dock, as well as all the luxury amenities you would come to expect. The owner's suite also offers a private gym, office and study, private dining area, butler's stateroom and more.

Onboard guests will be similarly pampered in four VIP suites of 90 square meters (968 square feet) apiece, and 12 guest suites, each at over 60 square meters (645 square feet). All guests will have access to the yacht's two pools, one indoor, one outdoor, multiple Jacuzzis, spa facilities, full time masseuse, hair stylist and barber, as well as all the water toys the yacht can carry.

Who Would Buy A Yacht Of This Size? - "It takes a person of vision, someone with a dream to own the worlds largest yacht and to bring it to reality," claims Timm. "We work almost exclusively with UHNWI (ultra high net worth individuals) clients and specialize in mega yachts and super yachts. For several years, we have advertised the sale of a 200 meter yacht on our luxury website, http://www.4yacht.com, and have worked with several UHNWI as well as several Middle Eastern clients toward the goal of building a yacht of this size. We had many discussions with our buyer that a yacht of 200 meters was of sufficient length, however with the launching of Azzam recently at 180 Meters, that all changed.

This Yacht Not To Be "Eclipsed" - "What our client was concerned about is that if we built the yacht to 200 meters, then someone would come along like Roman Abramovich when he built Eclipse at 163.5 meters, to barely 'eclipse' Sheikh Maktoum's yacht, the 162-meter Dubai, by only 1.5 meters," said Timm. "By building the yacht to 222 meters, he wants to make it difficult, if not impossible, to be 'eclipsed' himself."

According to Timm, construction of Project Triple Deuce will begin at a European shipyard, which has still yet to be decided, in the next 6-12 months, with a target delivery date of spring 2018. He goes on to say that the yacht will be built under the 100 A1 Passenger Ship Classification and be fully PYC (Passenger Yacht Code) Compliant.

What's All This Luxury Going To Cost The Owner Of This Yacht? - Current large super yachts run about €3.5 million to €4 million per meter to build at the best European shipyards. If we do the quick math, we can see that Project Deuce will cost €777 million to €888 million, or at the current USD exchange rate, $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion."Don't forget to add in annual operating costs," Timm said. "On a yacht of this size, it will run the owner an additional $20-$35 million USD per year."

The Race To Build The Biggest And The Best - Much like the race to build the tallest buildings in the world, such as the Shanghai Tower at 632 meters (2073'), or the Burj Khalifa at 828 meters (2717'), super yachts will continue to expand their size depending on who needs to have the biggest and best yacht.

How Long Will Project Triple Deuce Hold Its Position As The World's Largest Yacht? - "That's hard to determine, as there is a limit, not in size, but functionality and logistics," Timm said. "We haven't gotten there yet, but if the uber wealthy of the world have their way, Project Triple Deuce will be toppled in the future. How soon? That will be anybody's guess."

Cunard Appoints MGA Media Group as North America PR Agency
Cunard Appoints MGA Media Group as North America PR AgencyCunard Line announced this week that it has selected New York City based MGA Media Group to lead their public relations efforts in North America. MGA Media Group will direct the luxury cruise line’s brand awareness, strategic partnership development, special events and media relations as the company prepares to celebrate its 175th Anniversary in 2015.

“MGA Media Group displays a unique combination of brand understanding, industry expertise and creative thinking that we believe will elevate our brand awareness to our various audiences,” said Stanley Birge, vice president, North America, for Cunard Line. “We are very excited about this new partnership.”

Work began in September 2014 with a celebratory 10th Anniversary event for Queen Mary 2 on board the flagship in Boston Harbor.

Maria Grazia Andriano, president and chief strategist of MGA Media Group, said, “We are proud to have been selected as Cunard Line’s North American public relations agency of record, especially as it celebrates its 175th Anniversary. We are excited to help the brand highlight its rich history, while looking to the future to develop new strategic partnerships and public relations initiatives.”

MGA Media Group represents a prestigious portfolio of hospitality, travel, real estate, beauty and wellness clients. Andriano, a public relations veteran, has a deep knowledge of the brand, having represented Cunard previously in her career.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.50 - 2.23%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 65.96 - 1.45%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.02 + 1.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 35.60 - 1.71%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ship was the first to offer movies at sea?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which cruise ship's capacity was set to equal the number of seats in a 747?

Answer - The ship in question was the 'Golden Odyssey', built for Royal Cruise Line in 1974. Her capacity equalled that of a Boeing 747 and it was felt the use of one planeload of passengers to fill the ship would promote their fly/cruise programme. The ship is still in service as the German-operated 'Astra II'.
courtesy of Tony Davis


Cruise News - September 29, 2014

Carnival Ecstasy Passenger Dies After Fall
Carnival Ecstasy Passenger Dies After Fall A 20-year-old male passenger onboard the Carnival Ecstasy died early Monday morning after falling from the ship's forward mast as the cruise ship was returning to port in Miami. According to the cruise line, the passenger entered a restricted area in the forward area of the ship to climb the mast and fell approximately 25 feet to the deck below.

He was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition but later died. The Miami Dade Police Department identified the passenger as Kendall Wernet who was from Winter Park, Florida and was a student at Clemson University. According to friends, he was traveling on the cruise with a group of coworkers from a painting company he worked at.

In a statement released by Carnival a spokesperson described what happened, "Earlier this morning as the Carnival Ecstasy was approaching PortMiami, a 20-year-old male guest entered a restricted area and climbed up onto the ship’s forward mast. He subsequently fell and landed on the deck. He was initially treated by the ship’s medical team and later transferred to a local trauma center in Miami. Unfortunately, he has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time."

Police are investigating the incident but at this point it appears to have been an accident.

MSC Cruises Launches New Pricing Structure
MSC Cruises announced today that it has launched Inclusive Experiences, a new pricing structure in which guests choose an "experience" based on their own personal preferences and amenities desired while cruising.

Valued at up to $700+ per person, guests have the option of selecting from four different experience categories – Bella, Fantastica, Aurea, and MSC Yacht Club – ranging from a la carte to all-inclusive amenities.

MSC Cruises Launches New Pricing Structure"Consumers are increasingly seeking all-inclusive vacation experiences where all the services and activities they want can be paid for in one bundled package up front," said Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA. "Our new pricing model allows guests to customize their vacation experience based on their own personal desires."

Already introduced in most European markets, MSC Cruises is rolling out the experience pricing in North America due to the positive feedback received from guests abroad.

The inclusive experiences include the following options:

Bella Experience – Best Price: The Bella experience is designed for value-conscious travelers looking to enjoy the wide-range of amenities and entertainment MSC Cruises offers to all its guests, while having the option to add additional onboard services, such as beverage or spa packages, a la carte. The Bella experience is available for guests booking interior, ocean view or balcony staterooms.

Fantastica Experience – Priority Choice: The Fantastica experience provides guests additional flexibility and comfort options, such as the ability to choose a premium location stateroom and priority choice of early or late dining. Additional benefits in the Fantastica experience include 50 percent off all fitness classes and personal training; free delivery of room service between 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and enhanced recreational activities for children including cooking and foreign language classes. As a special promotion, guests who book the Fantastica experience for select 7-night or longer sailings on the MSC Divina in the Caribbean or Mediterranean will also receive a beverage package. This experience is available for guests booking interior, ocean view or balcony staterooms.

Aurea Experience – Premium Choice: The Aurea experience bundles several exceptional amenities, including premium choice of balcony staterooms and suites and dining in the main restaurant with "My Choice Dining" flexible times. Additional benefits in the Aurea experience include priority boarding; a beverage package consisting of unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, excluding premium drinks; a spa package with a massage and private spa consultation; access to the exclusive adults only Top 18 sun deck; and all the perks associated with the Fantastica experience. The Aurea experience is available for guests booking Aurea balcony staterooms and suites.

MSC Yacht Club – Elite Choice: The MSC Yacht Club is for guests interested in an all-inclusive VIP club level experience. Guests selecting this exclusive experience enjoy a private club with keycard access; priority check-in and check-out reception; signature Butler service; dedicated 24-hour concierge; exclusive Top Sail lounge and pool; 24/7 complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available within the Yacht Club area; and a private MSC Yacht Club restaurant.

Carnival Miracle To Begin Year-Round Mexican Riviera Program Next Week
Carnival Miracle will depart Saturday, Oct. 4 from Long Beach, Calif., on the first voyage of a new year-round cruise program to the Mexican Riviera.  The ship will be the first to call at Cabo San Lucas on October 6 following Hurricane Odile and will be loaded with relief supplies provided by Carnival for local residents.

Carnival Miracle’s new year-round Mexican Riviera program will encompass three different week-long itineraries, including a new three-port, seven-day cruise featuring Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

Carnival Miracle To Begin Year-Round Mexican Riviera Program Next WeekDuring the ship’s first visit to Cabo San Lucas, the crew will be off-loading several pallets of bottled water, canned food, cereal, diapers, paper products, personal items and other supplies for local residents.

“We have been in close contact with officials in Cabo San Lucas and have sent our own teams there to evaluate the recovery process,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.  “The residents, along with local, state and federal authorities, have worked extremely hard to ready the destination to receive visitors and revitalize the economic contribution that tourism brings to the area.  At the same time, local residents are still in need of relief supplies and it is extremely gratifying to be resuming our Mexican Riviera cruise program while doing some good for the local community,” Cahill added.

Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, federal under minister of tourism for Mexico, stated, “Our tourism destinations are ready to receive visitors.  Tourism is an important part of the local economy and we are grateful for everyone’s contribution to the recovery of Los Cabos.  The destination is ready for cruise passengers and the majority of restaurants, shops and tours are ready to be enjoyed.”

Carnival Miracle’s year-round schedule from Long Beach also includes two other itinerary options.  The first is a seven-day, two-port itinerary that features a stop in Cabo San Lucas, along with a two-day overnight stay in Puerto Vallarta. The second alternate itinerary includes a visit to Puerto Vallarta, along with a two-day call at Cabo San Lucas.

Princess Introduces New Mobile App For Regal Princess Passengers
Regal Princess guests will have the opportunity to connect with their fellow cruisers with the debut of Princess@Sea Messenger, a free mobile messenger feature offering guests an easy way to share updates and make plans during their cruise vacation.

Princess Introduces New Mobile App For Regal Princess PassengersThe Princess@Sea Messenger is integrated in the complimentary Princess@Sea mobile app, accessed via a smartphone or tablet browser. It debuts on Regal Princess in November and will be rolled out to all cruise ships in the entire fleet by the end of 2015.

“We know it’s important for our guests to be able to stay in touch with their fellow cruisers,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “With the new Princess@Sea Messenger we’re making it even easier for them to share their experiences, stay in touch and even make new friends.”

Guests will be able to download Princess@Sea Messenger for free before sailing at the Apple or Android App Store or on board with the purchase of an internet package. Limited messaging functionality will also be available in Princess@Sea without downloading the app.

The award-winning Princess@Sea mobile app debuted aboard Royal Princess in 2013 giving guests the ability to check the day’s events and activities, review the ship’s itinerary and port guides, browse restaurant menus and even access their stateroom account.

Regal Princess begins her Caribbean cruise season on November 6 with a short preview sailing, followed by a schedule of seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises to ports including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays in the Bahamas.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.40 + 0.15%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 66.93 + 0.34%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.997 - 2.61%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 36.22 - 1.55%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship's capacity was set to equal the number of seats in a 747?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Two steamship companies, one still in business, were named P&O. The "P" for both companies stands for "peninsular". What does the "O" stand for in each name? (The "O" is for a different word for each.

Answer - There were 2 steamship companies using P&O. One was the Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Company, sailing mostly to the Orient, a British company still in existence, as a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation. The other P & O was the Peninsular and Occidental Steamship Company owned by a Florida Railroad Company serving the Caribbean and Central America.
courtesy of Larry P Macdonald, Belmont, MA


Cruise News - September 22, 2014

Norwegian Escape Keel Laying Held at Meyer Werft
Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT today celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Escape at MEYER's state of the art facility in Papenburg, Germany. During the ceremony, block 35/41, the first of 86 blocks that will comprise the 164,600 gross ton vessel, was lifted into the covered building dock, officially marking the start of the ship's construction. Norwegian Escape will be Norwegian's largest ship to date, carrying 4,200 passengers, set for delivery in October 2015.

Kevin Sheehan, laid the traditional Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer, was on hand in the dock and laid the traditional "lucky coin," before the first block, weighing 400 tons, was placed by a massive crane. A special commemorative coin featuring the ship was created to celebrate the day's activities.

"Norwegian Escape will be our largest and most innovative ship to date, building on the phenomenal success of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway," said Sheehan. "We are looking forward to seeing this ship take shape over the next year and welcoming her to our fleet in October 2015."

Norwegian Escape is the first ship in her class, and is being built by MEYER WERFT through a highly-efficient construction process that will deliver the ship of 164,600 gross tons in just over 19 months from steel cutting to delivery.

"We are proud to begin the construction of Norwegian Cruise Line's first Breakaway Plus vessel and continue our long-standing partnership," said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT. "Norwegian Escape will be a spectacular ship and it is our honor to bring the dreams and innovations of the Norwegian team to life."

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on November 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

The ship's signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife. Norwegian's newest ship is Harvey's largest canvas to date, at 1065 feet in length, with his artwork spanning from the hull to the aft featuring two undersea scenes that blend seamlessly. Norwegian Escape will boast all of the exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that are yet to be announced. Accommodations include the company's signature luxury ship?within-a-ship complex: The Haven by Norwegian; along with Studios, designed and priced for solo travelers; and many options for families, multi-generational groups, spa enthusiasts and more.

RCI Names Third Quantum Ship OVATION OF THE SEAS
On the cusp of delivering the first in a new generation of technologically advanced cruise ships Royal Caribbean International marked an important milestone today as the first piece of steel was cut marking the official construction start on the third Quantum class ship.

RCI Names Third Quantum Ship OVATION OF THE SEAS The steel cutting for Ovation of the Seas, scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016, took place at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and now Ovation of the Seas are being built.

The groundbreaking Quantum class ships will debut new unprecedented features, such as dancing Roboscreens in the unique Two70 entertainment venue; robotic bartenders in Bionic Bar; RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; transformative venues, such as Sea-Plex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever Virtual Balcony staterooms, which offers expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations for interior staterooms.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries.

Carnival Corporation & plc Reports Third Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) announced non-GAAP net income of $1.2 billion, or $1.58 diluted EPS for the third quarter of 2014 compared to non-GAAP net income for the third quarter of 2013 of $1.1 billion, or $1.38 diluted EPS. For the third quarter of 2014, U.S. GAAP net income, which included net unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $15 million, was $1.2 billion, or $1.60 diluted EPS. For the third quarter of 2013, U.S. GAAP net income, which included impairments net of unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $139 million, was $934 million, or $1.20 diluted EPS. Revenues for the third quarter of 2014 were $4.9 billion, compared with $4.7 billion the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc Reports Third Quarter EarningsCarnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted, "Strong close-in demand and higher onboard spending helped drive significantly better than expected third quarter results and 15 percent year-over-year earnings improvement. Our Asia operations performed particularly well during the quarter, driven by a double-digit yield increase in our China program, further solidifying our industry leading presence in this important emerging cruise market. Our continental European operations also enjoyed strong yield and profit improvement in the quarter, reflecting continued progress for the Costa brand. In addition, our summer Caribbean product successfully attracted nearly 20 percent more guests than the prior year, reinforcing the popularity of the world's largest cruising region," Donald added.

Key metrics for the third quarter 2014 compared to the prior year were as follows:

• On a constant dollar basis, net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 1.8 percent for 3Q 2014, better than June guidance of flat to down 1 percent. Gross revenue yields increased 2.5 percent in current dollars.

• Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 0.5 percent in constant dollars, better than June guidance of up 1 to 2 percent due to the timing of certain expenses. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars decreased 5.8 percent.

• Fuel prices declined 3.5 percent to $650 per metric ton for 3Q 2014 from $674 per metric ton in 3Q 2013 and were less than June guidance of $673 per metric ton.

• Fuel consumption per ALBD decreased over 3 percent in 3Q 2014 compared to the prior year.

• During the third quarter, YouGov's BrandIndex ranked Carnival Cruise Lines the most-improved U.S. brand in consumer perception in its mid-year 2014 Buzz Rankings Report. A number of initiatives introduced by Carnival Cruise Lines, such as the Great Vacation Guarantee, Carnival LIVE Concert Series, Camp Ocean and Seuss at Sea, appear to be resonating with consumers. In addition, Princess Cruises recently announced an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to construct a new 3,600-berth vessel, which will enter service in 2017 based on the highly popular design platform introduced by sister ships Royal Princess and Regal Princess. In keeping with the company's strategy for measured capacity growth, this is the only newbuild scheduled to be delivered in 2017.

In June, Seabourn signed a multi-year agreement with UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) to support the organization's mission of safeguarding unique cultural and natural features around the world. That announcement came on the heels of a five year agreement to support The Nature Conservancy's global marine protection priorities. These programs, combined with the company's commitment to install exhaust gas cleaning technology on more than 70 ships, are among many initiatives underway to support the preservation of marine, environmental and cultural resources around the globe.

Outlook
Based on the strength of third quarter net revenue yields and current booking trends, the company has increased its expectations for full year 2014 net revenue yields on a constant dollar basis to be in line with the prior year, from its previous guidance of down slightly. Excluding fuel, the company expects full year net cruise costs per ALBD to be slightly higher compared to the prior year on a constant dollar basis. Taking the above factors into consideration, the company has increased its forecast for full year 2014 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $1.84 to $1.88, better than both June guidance of $1.60 to $1.75 and 2013 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $1.58.

At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the first half of 2015 are ahead of the prior year at higher prices. Over the last quarter, fleetwide booking volumes for the first half of 2015 have been running ahead of the prior year at higher prices.

"The sustained improvement in booking trends as we have progressed through the year combined with yield increases in the second half of 2014 builds confidence that we will see continued yield growth in 2015 and beyond," said Donald. He also noted that new product initiatives and innovative marketing campaigns implemented across the brands over the past year are driving the improvement in consumer demand and pricing trends. vFor fiscal 2015, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD are expected to increase approximately three percent due primarily to a significantly higher level of dry-dock days scheduled next year to install new air emissions technology as well as other technology designed to improve fuel efficiency. The company expects the exhaust gas cleaning system or scrubber technology will be installed on approximately 70 percent of its fleet by 2016, thus enabling the company to meet the 2015 stricter air emissions standards as well as mitigate escalating fuel costs that will result from the new requirements. The company anticipates the new regulations will result in higher fuel costs in 2015 of approximately $0.10 per share with that increase expected to be reduced by half in 2016 and mostly offset in 2017 based on the system roll-out. Also, in 2016, the company will revert back to a more normalized dry-dock schedule, which will offset approximately half of the increase in 2015 net cruise costs excluding fuel.

"Our implementation of the air emissions technology is a sound investment in our company's future and more importantly it will benefit the environment for years to come," said Donald. "These technology investments are laying a solid foundation towards sustainable earnings improvement. Combined with our other strategic initiatives designed to foster revenue growth and contain costs, we are gaining momentum towards our goal of achieving double digit returns on investment over time," Donald added.

Fourth Quarter 2014 Outlook
Fourth quarter constant dollar net revenue yields are expected to be up 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the fourth quarter are expected to be lower by 1.0 to 2.0 percent on a constant dollar basis compared to the prior year.

Based on the above factors, the company expects non-GAAP diluted earnings for the fourth quarter 2014 to be in the range of $0.15 to $0.19 per share versus 2013 non-GAAP earnings of $0.04 per share.

Carnival Epands China Operations
Carnival Corporation today announced Alan Buckelew, Chief Operations Officer, will be expanding his leadership role by relocating to China to more closely oversee the company's growing operations in the country.

"As the world's largest cruise company with a portfolio of nine industry-leading global cruise lines, we are the clear market leader in China and very well positioned to continue working with officials in China to help the country meet its goal of becoming one of the most important cruise markets in the world," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. "Today's announcement underscores our deep commitment to China as a market of great strategic importance for our company. Alan is one of the most respected leaders in the industry and having him on the ground in China will add great strength to our operation and growth opportunities in China."

In addition to Costa Serena, Princess Cruises -- another iconic Carnival Corporation brand -- began home-porting the Sapphire Princess out of Shanghai this past summer.Buckelew's experience in Asia is extensive, previously serving as the CEO of Princess Cruises before taking on the assignment of Chief Operations Officer for Carnival Corporation & plc. In his expanded role, he will lead all of the company's initiatives in China, while also continuing to provide oversight of all maritime and port operations around the world and a number of related functions as part of his COO role.

"We are excited about our cruise ships currently serving the Chinese market and the vast potential to grow our business in China in the months and years to come," Buckelew said. "Our team in China is dedicated and passionate about delivering a unique experience designed to exceed the expectations of every guest who boards one of our ships."

This past May, the company announced Costa Serena will deploy year-round in China next year, making Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with four ships based in China, one of the world's fastest-growing cruise markets. Costa Cruises plans to debut Costa Serena in Shanghai in April 2015, where it will join Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica, sister ships already deployed in China. The move will increase Costa's overall capacity in Asia by 74 percent.

In addition to Costa Serena, Princess Cruises -- another iconic Carnival Corporation brand -- began home-porting the Sapphire Princess out of Shanghai this past summer.

Adding a third ship based in China this year increases Carnival Corporation's total 2014 capacity in the country by 66 percent. In 2015, with four ships based in China for the first time, Carnival's industry-leading capacity is expected to jump 140 percent over a two-year period.

"As we execute our strategy to accelerate growth in China, we have the benefit of eight years of experience in China to not only help guide our expansion, but also find unique ways to delight our guests with the joy of cruising," Buckelew said.

With a career spanning more than 37 years in the cruise industry, Buckelew served as chief executive officer of Princess Cruises from June 2007 and served as the line's president since February 2004. In addition, he also served as chief operating officer for Cunard Line from 2004 to 2007.

Buckelew has a breadth of experience across cruise operations, having served as executive vice president responsible for Princess's strategic planning, marketing and yield management services. Before that, he held various other high-level executive positions in customer service, shared services and yield management. He also held roles as chief information officer and chief financial officer of Princess.

Buckelew served in US Army in 1969 and 1970. He holds an MBA and bachelor's degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Princess to Celebrate 50th Anniversary with First-Ever Float in The Rose Parade
Princess Cruises will ring in the new year and its 50th anniversary in an unprecedented way – with its first-ever float in the world-famous Rose Parade on January 1 in Pasadena, Calif. As a special feature the six original cast members of The Love Boat television show will ride on the ship’s bow and “cruise” down the five-and-a-half mile parade route.

In addition to paying tribute to the television show that made Princess Cruises one of the most famous names in cruising, the Rose Parade float will depict the line’s newest ship Regal Princess symbolically sailing through the world’s fascinating destinations and iconic landmarks that guests have experienced with Princess for the past 50 years.

Princess to Celebrate 50th Anniversary with First-Ever Float in The Rose Parade“Since the theme of this year’s Rose Parade is ‘Inspiring Stories,’ we can think of no more perfect opportunity to launch our 50th anniversary year celebrations,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “For the last five decades of our guests sailing with us to amazing places, they’ve returned with inspiring memories that have lasted a lifetime, and we want to celebrate this on the very first day of 2015.”

She added that because The Love Boat played such a distinctive part in the company’s history, including the cast members on the Rose Parade float was fun opportunity to pay tribute to the television show that introduced Princess Cruises and modern-day cruising to millions of Americans for ten years from 1977 to 1986.

The Love Boat cast, including Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Chief Purser Gopher), Ted Lange (Bartender Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Cruise Director Julie) and Jill Whelan (Captain’s daughter Vicki), will have just officially named Regal Princess, having served as the ship’s godparents prior to their appearance in the New Year’s Day parade.

Famous for being held under sunny skies when much of the country is experiencing winter weather, the Rose Parade is viewed by some 700,000 spectators lining the parade route, and by approximately 80 million viewers on television around the globe. It is part of “America’s New Year Celebration®” and includes numerous floral floats, spirited marching bands and high-stepping equestrian units.

The Princess Cruises float, being designed and built by Phoenix Decorating Company, will be 60 feet long and 24 feet high, and will be covered by more than 24,000 thousand flowers and natural materials.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 40.341 + 2.36%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 66.70 + 0.41%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.07 + 2.33%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 36.79 + 0.96%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Two steamship companies, one still in business, were named P&O. The "P" for both companies stands for "peninsular". What does the "O" stand for in each name? (The "O" is for a different word for each.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - What was the first cruise/passenger ship to have a "magrodome" (the automatic glass or plexiglass covering over the pool area)?

Answer - The SS Oceanic of 1965 was the first ship to have a "magrodome" cover over a swimming pool. She was built for Home Lines serving Bermuda and the Bahamas out of New York City. She later sailed for Premier Cruise Lines as the "Big Red Boat".
courtesy of Larry P Macdonald, Belmont, MA


Cruise News - September 15, 2014

HAL Names 2016 Pinnacle Class Ship ms Koningsdam
Holland America Line revealed the name of its new 99,500-ton cruise ship slated for delivery in February 2016 will be ms Koningsdam. While the name pays homage to the company's rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a bold name that is an original in Holland America Line's 141-year history. The 2,650-passenger ship is an evolution in design for the line — a new Pinnacle Class — and is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard.

HAL Names 2016 Pinnacle Class Ship ms KoningsdamSince 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the "dam" suffix, and ms Koningsdam carries on that tradition. The word koning means "king" in Dutch, and the name celebrates the majestic new ship. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century.

Holland America Line has a long, proud history with the Netherlands. All 15 premium cruise ships fly the Dutch flag as they sail throughout the world, to more than 400 ports of call. The historic greatness of the line's Dutch heritage is shared with nearly one million guests each year. And the line has many Dutch employees, including most of the fleet's captains and officers.

Many of Holland America Line's ships have been christened by members of the Dutch Royal Family over the past 75 years. Most recently, ms Nieuw Amsterdam was christened by Her Royal Highness Princess Maxima in 2010. And in 2008 ms Eurodam was christened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

"In choosing the name Koningsdam, we are honoring our rich Dutch heritage while reflecting that we're entering a new era as a company," said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of the Holland America Group. "This new Pinnacle Class ship will be our largest, most contemporary vessel, and it was only fitting to give it a name that embodies great achievement for the future, while embracing timeless tradition."

Holland America Line was founded in the Netherlands in 1873 as the Netherlands-American Steamship Company headquartered in Rotterdam. The original headquarters building still stands today as the Hotel New York on the Wilhelmina Pier, with the company's European headquarters located nearby.

When it debuts in February 2016, ms Koningsdam will be a new type of ship for Holland America Line. At 99,500 gross tons and carrying 2,650 guests and 1,025 crew members, the vessel is the largest ever built for the company. The increased size provides more opportunities to add new public spaces and venues, and several innovative features will debut on ms Koningsdam. Familiar spaces and amenities currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will also be found on the new ship.

To bring a fresh vision to ms Koningsdam, Holland America Line tapped Adam D. Tihany, one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. Tihany joins distinguished maritime designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten who worked with Holland America Line on ms Nieuw Amsterdam and ms Eurodam. The two firms will create a modern and contemporary ambiance while incorporating Holland America Line's classic hallmarks.

U.S. Cruise Industry Saw Continued Growth in 2013
New data released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) show that the North American cruise industry continued to expand in 2013, generating employment, income, and other economic benefits throughout the U.S. economy.

"Taking a cruise is hands down one of the best vacation values available today for consumers," said Christine Duffy, CLIA President and CEO. "This study shows the cruise industry is also an important economic contributor, supporting businesses and jobs across America, from travel agents who help their clients select from a diverse array of exciting cruise choices, to the businesses in every state that provide products and services to cruise lines."

Ms. Duffy noted that on a global basis, over the ten years from 2003 to 2013, demand for cruising worldwide has increased 77 percent, from 12 million to 21.3 million passengers. Globally, cruise industry expenditures generated $117 billion in total output, requiring 891,009 full-time equivalent employees who earned $38.47 billion in income.

The independent report commissioned by CLIA from Business Research and Economic Advisers (BREA), The Contribution of the North American Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy in 2013, found that:

• Total contributions of the cruise industry to the U.S. economy in 2013 reached a record $44.1 billion

• The cruise industry supported 363,133 U.S. jobs, in every state, paying wages of $18.3 billion

• Nearly 10 million cruise passengers embarked at U.S. ports, representing 57% of the North American cruise industry's global embarkations

• U.S.-based direct spending by cruise lines, passengers, and crew totaled $20.1 billion, nearly double expenditures made in 2000

• Nearly 70% of the cruise industry's non-wage expenditures were made with U.S.-based businesses

U.S. Cruise Industry Saw Continued Growth in 2013The BREA study found that the positive impacts of the cruise industry are found in every state, ranging from 3,227 jobs and $138 million in direct purchases in Missouri, to more than 140,400 jobs and over $7.3 billion in direct purchases in Florida.

The top 10 U.S. cruise ports accounted for 86 percent of embarkations. Florida remains the center of cruising in the United States, with its five cruise ports accounting for nearly 62 percent of all U.S. embarkations in 2013. California, Texas, and New York each had more than 600,000 embarkations.

Other findings from the 2013 U.S. report include:

• Peach State residents are among the U.S.' biggest cruise fans, with 239,000 Georgians enjoying a cruise last year.

• Nearly one million cruise passengers visited Alaska, supporting jobs for 18,938 Alaskans with $866 million in wages via $993 million in direct expenditures.

• 335,000 passengers and crew visited Massachusetts, generating $491 million in direct spending and 7,876 jobs.

Full report is available here

David Dingle Appointed Chairman of Carnival UK
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced that David Dingle has been appointed chairman of Carnival UK and David Noyes, currently executive vice president operations, has been promoted to the CEO role, with operating responsibility for the UK-based brands P&O Cruises and Cunard Line. Dingle and Noyes will take up their new roles on October 1, and will both report to Carnival Corporation & plc president and CEO Arnold Donald.

David Dingle Appointed Chairman of Carnival UK"This moves allows us to strengthen further our overall leadership in the critically important UK marketplace, while also promoting from within to leverage the skills, experience and capabilities of our executive team," said Donald.

Dingle, who became CEO in 2007, joined P&O Cruises in London in 1978 where, after holding a series of commercial positions, he became managing director in 2000. At the time of the merger of P&O Princess Cruises plc and the Carnival Corporation in April 2003, he became managing director of Carnival UK.

Noyes joined Carnival UK in 2011, in his current position. Prior to joining Carnival, he worked in the UK travel industry for 25 years, mainly with British Airways, where he was responsible for BA's worldwide customer services operation, and latterly with Gray Dawes Travel as CEO.

Elaine Holt will join Carnival UK on October 1 as David Noyes' replacement as executive vice president operations following a highly successful career in the rail, road and airline industries. She has led a series of transformational programmes as executive chairman of East Coast Mainline and before that as managing director of First Capital Connect. Most recently she has acted as a non executive director of the Highways Agency.

Commenting on the appointments, David Dingle said:

"David Noyes is exceptionally placed to lead P&O Cruises and Cunard into the future and grow the business for the next generation. Elaine brings with her a strong blend of operational and customer services skills and will be a very valuable addition to our executive team."

Dingle is a former President of The UK Chamber of Shipping and the European Cruise Council (now CLIA Europe) and continues to serve on the boards of both groups. In 2009, he joined the board of the European Community Shipowners Association. He has previously served as a director of the Association of British Travel Agents and The UK Passenger Shipping Association.

Holland America Details 2014-15 Caribbean Season
Travelers looking for an intimate, mid-sized cruise experience in the Caribbean have 126 itineraries to choose from during Holland America Line’s 2014-15 Caribbean season. Featuring nine of the line’s vessels sailing roundtrip from either Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, Fla., the cruises span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as partial transits of the Panama Canal. The diverse itineraries visit 30 ports and give discerning guests more options than any other premium line exploring the region.

From October 2014 through April 2015, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Ryndam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam sail regular Caribbean voyages, while ms Amsterdam and ms Prinsendam each sail one December holiday cruise in the region. The ships feature 21 different seven-, 10-, 11- and 14-day itineraries that can be combined into longer Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 25 days. All Fort Lauderdale departures feature a call at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, diverse shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and kid-friendly activities.

“With our elegant mid-sized ships and wide variety of onboard activities, Holland America Line is a leader in the Caribbean’s premium cruise market,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest relations. “We carefully plan our itineraries to highlight the best ports in the region, including our award-winning private island, Half Moon Cay.”

Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries During the season, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam will sail a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itinerariesRoundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries During the season, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam will sail a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries that can be combined to form a 14-day Collectors’ Voyage spanning both regions. Maasdam sails 10-day eastern routes, as well as longer 11- and 14-day southern itineraries. Noordam also features 10- and 11-day southern Caribbean cruises ideal for guests looking for a longer vacation.

In addition to the 14-day Collectors’ Voyages, the itineraries can be combined to form a diverse range of options, including an 18-day southern and western cruise on Noordam, a 21-day southern and eastern option on Maasdam and a 25-day nonrepeating double-southern route on Maasdam.

New for 2015, Noordam, Eurodam and Ryndam have added more dates to their already-robust schedules, giving guests expanded options from which to choose.

Partial Panama Canal Transits - Guests looking to explore the lakes and locks of the Panama Canal without going through to the West Coast can embark on a convenient roundtrip Fort Lauderdale partial transit aboard Maasdam or Zuiderdam. The ships make their way to Gatun Lake and spend a few hours before returning back through the locks. During the 10-, 11- or 14-day departures the ships also visit several Caribbean ports. The partial transit itineraries can be combined with other Caribbean cruises to form a Collectors’ Voyage of up to 25 days.

Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries - Ryndam spends the Caribbean season cruising roundtrip from Tampa on seven-day western and 14-day southern itineraries. The two options can be combined to form a 21-day western/southern Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage. The ship makes a maiden call at Banana Coast, Honduras, and also visits Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Lucia, Aruba, Curaçao, Guatemala, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Key West, Fla.

Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise - For travelers who like to get away from the hustle, and chill of December, the holiday season is a special time onboard. A total of 15 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on itineraries ranging from seven to 14 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form a grand Holiday Collectors’ Voyage.

Guests looking to explore the Caribbean on Prinsendam and Amsterdam during the holidays can embark on their only Caribbean sailings of the season. Prinsendam leaves Dec. 18 on a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise to the southern Caribbean. The 16-day itinerary includes 10 ports and stretches from Half Moon Cay to Tobago. Departing Dec. 22, Amsterdam sails a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise on a 14-day southern Caribbean cruise.

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and sing-alongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts.

The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a champagne toast.

Princess Cruises Launches New "Seawitch" Craft Beer
Princess Cruises Launches New Seawitch Craft BeerPrincess Cruises is pouring a new craft beer to toast its upcoming 50th anniversary. The "Seawitch" West Coast IPA beer – playfully named for the company's iconic logo – was developed exclusively for Princess Cruises, in partnership with award-winning Strike Brewing Company, and is the first in the line's new series of craft beers. The brew will be introduced aboard Regal Princess when the cruise ship debuts in Florida for a season of Caribbean cruises this November.

"We know our guests love distinct experiences and authentic flavors so we're excited to debut a new craft beer series with this special 50th anniversary blend aboard our newest ship," said Jonathan Wilson, Princess Cruises vice president of food and beverage services. "The Seawitch West Coast IPA not only commemorates our milestone anniversary, but is also meant to inspire our guests to celebrate their sea journeys with Princess."

Strike Brewing Company, located near San Francisco - one of Princess Cruises' home ports – is an award-winning microbrewery well known to fans of local craft beer. The Seawitch West Coast IPA (India Pale Ale) features the balanced aroma of lightly roasted malt and barley which is strongly accented by the crisp dry flavor of a unique hop blend.

The Seawitch West Coast IPA will retail for $6.25 and be available in bars and lounges throughout Regal Princess. It is expected to be available fleetwide by early 2015.

The cruise line will roll out additional Seawitch craft beers in partnerships with regional breweries that specialize in local flavors and represent some of the cruise destinations Princess ships visit.

Princess Cruises will officially kick off its 50th anniversary year with the naming ceremony of Regal Princess on Nov. 5 in Ft. Lauderdale. The company is honoring the role the The Love Boat played in its five-decades-long history by having the original Love Boat cast members serve as godparents for its newest cruise ship.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.41 + 0.74%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 66.43 + 0.03%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.00 - 0.99%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 36.440 + 0.94%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the first cruise/passenger ship to have a "magrodome" (the automatic glass or plexiglass covering over the pool area)?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - Which cruise ship survived being struck by a 100 foot high rogue wave while approaching Casablanca during her world cruise of 1976? She rolled an estimated 40 degrees but was able to right herself.

Answer - The ship in question is the Rotterdam (V) of Holland America Line.
courtesy of Larry P Macdonald, Belmont, MA


Cruise News - September 8, 2014

Engine Problems Force Celebrity To Cancel Cruise
Celebrity Cruises announced this week that they have canceled Celebrity Constellation's November 21st three-night Bahamas voyage due to problems with the ship's diesel engine.

Engine Problems Force Celebrity To Cancel Cruise"We need to replace a large component of Celebrity Constellation's diesel engine that can only be done in dry dock," Cynthia Martinez, director of global corporate communications for parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said in a statement.

"Due to the shipyard's availability, we decided to cancel the short cruise so that we could perform the work in November." Martinez added the problem with the diesel engine is not affecting current Constellation sailings.

"The ship has been using the two gas turbine engines instead of the diesel engine. There has been no impact to the ship's top speed."

Passengers can rebook in like accommodations at the protected/lowest available rate on cruises departing January 5th or 24th, February 7th or 21st, or March 7th. Those who rebook will receive $100 on-board credit per standard stateroom or $200 per suite.

Passengers who rebook and incur a fee due to the change in their airline reservations will be reimbursed up to $200 per person. Those who cancel will get a full refund but no credit or airline change fee.

Celebrity Constellation is expected to resume service November 24th from Port Everglades on a five-night western Caribbean cruise.

P&O Announces 2016 World Voyages
Set sail on an epic adventure with P&O Cruises’ new World Journeys to discover some of the most iconic destinations on the planet.

Aurora’s 114-night World Circumnavigation visits 38 ports in 24 countriesA trio of grand sailings, comprising a classic world cruise on Aurora; a South America & Japan sailing on Arcadia; and a Caribbean & America voyage on Oriana, will showcase some of the world’s most unforgettable sights and its most exciting cities.

Collectively, the ships will cover over 90,000 nautical miles, visiting 90 ports in 58 countries, contrasting the Latin spirit of South America with the mysticism of the Orient and the heritage of America’s Deep South.

All three ships will stay overnight in key cities including New Orleans, San Francisco and Hong Kong, giving passengers two days to explore ashore, while evening port stays have also been built into itineraries to allow longer days for extra sightseeing.

Aurora’s 114-night World Circumnavigation visits 38 ports in 24 countries, including iconic cities and sights such as Sydney, Cape Town and Hong Kong, plus Table Mountain, the Great Barrier Reef and Pearl Harbour. There are also maiden calls at The Gambia, Philippines, Taiwan, Lahaina (Hawaii), Malaysia and the Seychelles. The round-trip Southampton voyage departs on January 2, 2016, with prices from £10,849 per person.

Arcadia’s 115-night South America & Japan Adventure visits 32 ports in 19 countries, including headline cities and landmarks such as Rio de Janeiro, Beijing and San Francisco, plus Easter Island, Panama Canal and the Great Wall of China. Maiden calls are Papua New Guinea, Hilo (Hawaii), South Korea, Cape Verde, Falkland Islands and Tauranga (New Zealand). The round-trip Southampton voyage departs on January 11, 2016, with prices from £10,949 per person.

Oriana’s 50-night Caribbean & American Adventure visits 20 ports in 15 countries, and features iconic ports such as New Orleans, Charleston, Key West and Miami with a maiden call at Progreso (Mexico). The round-trip Southampton sailing departs on January 6, 2016, with prices from £3,999 per person.

P&O Cruises marketing director Christopher Edgington said: “At P&O Cruises, we pride ourselves on creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our customers and these sailings do just that by bringing the world to their feet.

“Customers can choose between a full world cruise offering a true lifetime experience or one of the many shorter sectors for an exotic winter holiday with a difference. If you are looking for adventure and you want inspiration, these sailings open up a world of possibilities that few other experiences can match.”

Royal Caribbean Announces Anthem of the Seas Entertainment
Royal Caribbean International is once again shaking things up on the high seas. The first cruise line to feature fully licensed, Tony Award-winning Broadway productions today announced that guests onboard the highly-anticipated Anthem of the Seas will party to We Will Rock You – the smash hit musical featuring the greatest hits of legendary British rock group, Queen – when she sails from Southampton, England in April 2015. Written by British comedian Ben Elton, the hilarious award-winning, record-breaking phenomenon boasts a score of killer Queen tunes such as “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are the Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and of course, “We Will Rock You.”

Royal Caribbean Announces Anthem of the Seas Entertainment“On our new Quantum-class, guests can expect an entertainment experience that transcends anything they’ve ever seen before, and We Will Rock You is no exception,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We’re thrilled to bring the timeless rock ballads of Queen to our most appropriately named ship.”

Built around 24 of Queen’s greatest hits, We Will Rock You tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and does the same. Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown. We Will Rock You has proven itself as one of the London West End’s most solid hits since opening in May 2002, going on to become a worldwide sensation. The show has now been seen in local productions in 17 countries, playing to an audience of more than 15 million people.

Additionally, guests sailing on the cruise line’s Adventure of the Seas will be able to experience a limited time engagement of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Tell Me on a Sunday, running through November 2, 2014.

As part of Royal Caribbean’s Broadway at Sea offerings, guests of the cruise line can take in performances featuring the storytelling of ABBA’s timeless songs in MAMMA MIA! on Quantum of the Seas, the 60’s-inspired bebop of Hairspray and one of the world’s most beloved musicals CATS on Oasis of the Seas, the jazz-infused score of Chicago: The Musical on Allure of the Seas, the toe-tapping disco beats of Saturday Night Fever on Liberty of the Seas, and now, We Will Rock You on the new Anthem of the Seas and Tell Me on a Sunday on Adventure of the Seas.

Britain’s Biggest Cruise Ship Takes Art To A New Dimension
P&O Cruises’ new ship Britannia will boast Britain’s largest floating art collection, containing more than 8,000 artworks, when it launches in March next year.

Britain’s Biggest Cruise Ship Takes Art To A New DimensionThe multi-million art collection represents a new approach by the company with works having been chosen to complement and enhance Britannia’s interior designs to give the feel of a luxury hotel.

Pieces ranging from paintings and bronze sculptures to ceramics and paper wall reliefs have been created by a wide variety of artists – most of them British – with some from as far afield as Japan, Australia and South Africa.

Most of the artists are women, a factor which art consultant Tom Tempest-Radford – who has compiled the collection in conjunction with Britannia’s designers Richmond International – credits with bringing a different feel to the ship.

“Women are better at surfaces and textures and Britannia has a huge variety of really crafted materials that create an incredible depth of flavour,” he said.

Artisans have varied from painters and potters to sculptors and ceramicists, along with jewellers, goldsmiths and silversmiths. Some have made single artworks for Britannia, while others have made hundreds or even thousands which, in some cases, has involved an entirely new approach to create bespoke pieces.

The decision to integrate Britannia’s artworks with its interior style has ensured a consistency of design and attention to detail that runs throughout the ship, creating a sophisticated, yet comfortable, ambience.

Tom Tempest-Radford explained: “Most of the artworks are abstract and people will regard this as modern, but they will be amazed at how it works seamlessly together. It is based on the sea and music and the whole thing together is a symphony.”

He added: “Britannia is going to be very different to other P&O Cruises ships and it will set a new standard, which could make it a game-changer.”

Carnival Legend Marks Equator Crossing with Traditional Maritime Ceremony
Carnival Legend Marks Equator Crossing with Traditional Maritime Ceremony Guests and crew aboard the Carnival Legend – in the midst of a 23-day trans-Pacific repositioning cruise to Australia – participated in a centuries-old maritime tradition held to commemorate a ship’s crossing of the equator.

On September 7 at 3 p.m., the Carnival Legend’s horn bellowed, summoning everyone to the Lido Deck for the time-honored ceremony.

Accompanied by a band of friendly pirates, Carnival Legend Cruise Director Eli Sharplin – dressed as King Neptune as per nautical tradition – volunteered to have his head shaved by none other than Captain Giuseppe Gazzano.  The spectacle was witnessed by hundreds of mariners who gathered on deck.

Following the ceremony, the former Carnival Legend “pollywogs” – or novice sailors – were bestowed the new title of “trusty shellback” in recognition of their distinction of crossing the equator.

Carnival Legend arrives in Sydney September 22 and will begin a seasonal program of eight- to 12-day cruises from Down Under on September 24, 2014.

Fall: A Choice Time to Cruise
This fall, cruisers can see Mother Nature put on one of her best shows with colorful leaves as far as the eye can see, on sailings on the coast of New England and Canada. Cruise passengers can also celebrate Halloween complete with ghosts and ghouls and enjoy elaborate shipboard Thanksgiving feasts.

Fall: A Choice Time to CruiseFall is also the time when cruise lines reposition their ships from summer to winter homes, including Alaska and Europe to warm destinations, and these repositioning cruises provide both unusual itineraries (with a combination of port calls and days at sea) and attractive prices.

Here are some fall cruising ideas:

See fall foliage - Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, American Cruise Lines, Seabourn, Princess Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line are among cruise lines with fall sailings in New England/Canada, embarking from cities including Boston, New York, Brooklyn, Bayonne (New Jersey), Montreal, Quebec City and Baltimore. Leaf-peeping combines with such delights as whale-watching, eating lobster, seeing lighthouses and absorbing American history. Some of the cruises are one-way and others roundtrip with sailings ranging from five to 22 days.

Celebrate all things spooky - Disney Cruise Lines' Halloween on the High Seas expands this year, with the whole fleet featuring themed decorations, activities and events from late September through October. Try "Spooky Juice" and spider cakes, hear haunted stories under the stars, watch scary movies and participate in the "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream" experience – where you can meet Jack Skellington and Sally. Bring a costume or make one shipboard.

Or join the group KISS and rock out on KISS Kruise IV onboard the Norwegian Pearl, embarking October 31. This year's cruise includes a Halloween pre-party on the ship on October 30. During the sailing, theme nights include KISS Around The World, Dress As Your Favorite KISS Song, I Was There and Dressed to Kill. Pack your face paint, costumes and suncreen.

Give thanks at sea - Thanksgiving cruises allow you to say goodbye to holiday stress and relax at a time during the year when vacation-goers need it most.

On Princess ships, the shipboard chefs prepare dinner with all the traditional fixings for an easy, yet festive feast.

Make Thanksgiving memorable with a holiday cruise on Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony in Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef, or Crystal Serenity in the sunny Caribbean. Both ships will host an elaborate holiday celebration onboard.

Or treat the family to Thanksgiving on a Disney ship and enjoy a wide array of holiday festivities – including a traditional turkey dinner and college football offerings. The line's four ships will be decked out with holiday decor – even including special Thanksgiving towel animals in staterooms. Mickey and other characters will of course wear their holiday attire.

Help feed the hungry when booking a holiday cruise on American Cruise Lines. The line is making a donation of $50 to the Connecticut Food Bank for every booking on the Thanksgiving sailings of the Queen of the Mississippi, cruising from New Orleans to Memphis, and the Independence, sailing from Jacksonville, Fla. to Charleston, S.C. Both ships will feature a feast of Thanksgiving favorites.

Do a repositioning cruise - You can typically snag a deal when a cruise line moves a ship from one destination to another for a season and that's certainly the case this fall – with ships repositioning from places including Alaska, Europe and Bermuda to the Caribbean, South Pacific, Asia and South America for the winter season. Some of the itineraries cut from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the Panama Canal. Transatlantic itineraries include port calls at fascinating cities in Europe, while transpacific cruises can get you to the tropical paradise islands of French Polynesia.

Royal Caribbean Raises Dividend
The Board of Directors of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) today declared a $0.05 increase in the quarterly cash dividend to $0.30 per common share payable on October 2, 2014, to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 22, 2014. This move, which was approved unanimously at the board's September 9th meeting reflects the company's continuing efforts to increase shareholder returns.

Today's actions represent a 20% increase to the previous $0.25 per common share dividend level. "Dividends continue to be an important component of total shareholder return," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "This dividend increase was made possible by the efforts of the overall organization to continue to improve our financial position. It demonstrates our commitment to increasing shareholder value and our confidence in our ability to continue to grow returns in the future."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 39.12 + 3.08%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 66.41 + 3.17%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.03 + 4.48%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 36.10 - 2.41%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship survived being struck by a 100 foot high rogue wave while approaching Casablanca during her world cruise of 1976? She rolled an estimated 40 degrees but was able to right herself.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - American Export Lines operated a quartet of popular combination ships following the Second World War. The ships were known as the "Four Aces". What were the names of these ships.

Answer - Exochorda, Excalibar, Excambion and the Exeter were the "Four Aces" of the American Export Line after WW II and well into the 50"s.
courtesy of Larry P Macdonald, Belmont, MA


Cruise News - September 1, 2014

NCL Acquires Oceania & Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Agrees to Acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc. for $3.025 Billion

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. ("Norwegian Cruise Line" or "Norwegian," (NASDAQ: NCLH)), a leading global cruise operator, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc. ("Prestige"), the market leader in the upscale cruise segment and parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt.

NCL Acquires Oceania & Regent Seven Seas Cruises"The acquisition of Prestige represents an extraordinary opportunity for Norwegian Cruise Line to expand our market presence by adding two established, award-winning brands in the upscale cruise segment with loyal followings," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's chief executive officer. "Not only does this acquisition immediately enhance our financial performance, but it also deepens the bench of talent that we have been developing over the years. Our complementary strengths and skillsets will pave the way for new cross-selling opportunities, cross-brand collaboration, cross-business support, as well as joint partnerships which, coupled with meaningful synergies that can be quickly implemented, will provide solid accretion to earnings per share and drive long-term shareholder value," added Sheehan.

"We are excited to become part of the Norwegian family and start a new chapter for our company," said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige. "With Oceania and Regent, we have built iconic brands with distinctive product offerings and strong customer loyalty. The combination is very compelling and will allow us to further enhance our renowned guest experience. We are looking forward to joining the Norwegian team and building upon the success that our three brands have already achieved."

Prestige operates eight ships and approximately 6,500 berths under two segment-leading brands. Oceania Cruises is the market leader in the upper-premium cruise segment with five ships offering destination-oriented cruise vacations to more than 330 ports around the globe, gourmet culinary experiences, elegant accommodations and personalized service. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three award-winning, all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016. Regent offers the industry's most inclusive luxury vacation experience visiting over 250 destinations worldwide. Frank Del Rio will remain chief executive officer of Prestige.

"The combination of three distinct brands, each serving a different market segment, under one umbrella immediately creates an industry-leading cruise operator with an unmatched growth trajectory and a portfolio of products that allows us to appeal to guests at every stage of their life cycle," added Sheehan. "We are fully committed to retaining the brand propositions, guest experiences and cultures of the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands that have allowed each to realize such success."

Transaction Rationale

The compelling rationale to acquire Prestige includes:
• The diversification of cruise market segments by adding upper premium and luxury brands;
• The further enhancement of industry-leading financial metrics;
• Opportunities for synergies and the sharing of best practices among brands;
• An increase in economies of scale providing greater operational leverage;
• The expansion of growth trajectory and global footprint; and
• The opportunity to complement Norwegian's new build program with the existing Regent order that provides measured, orderly capacity growth through 2019.

Transaction Details

The total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion includes the assumption of debt. Additionally, a contingent cash consideration of up to $50 million to Prestige shareholders would be payable upon achievement of certain 2015 performance metrics.

In early July, Norwegian's Board of Directors formed a Transaction Committee and delegated it full authority to negotiate and approve a transaction. The Committee consisted entirely of disinterested directors. Genting Hong Kong Limited and certain funds affiliated with TPG Capital, each of whose consent was required pursuant to Norwegian's existing shareholders' agreement have consented to the transaction. The Transaction Committee, who retained its own financial and legal advisors, has unanimously approved the transaction. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Norwegian will finance the acquisition with existing cash, new and existing debt facilities and the issuance of approximately 20.3 million shares of its common stock. Pursuant to the requirements of NASDAQ Rule 5635, holders of a majority of Norwegian's common stock have consented to the issuance of such shares.

Barclays is acting as lead financial advisor to Norwegian, Deloitte Consulting, LLP is acting as diligence advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is providing legal counsel. UBS Investment Bank is acting as financial advisor to Prestige and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is providing legal counsel. Perella Weinberg Partners is acting as financial advisor to the Transaction Committee of the Norwegian Board of Directors and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is providing legal counsel. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Deutsche Bank are also serving as financial advisors to Norwegian. Barclays, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Deutsche Bank have provided committed financing to Norwegian to support the acquisition.

Celebrity Century Sold To Chinese Operator - Ctrip
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell its cruise ship Celebrity Century to Exquisite Marine Ltd., a holding company led by Ctrip.com International Ltd. The sale will result in a non-cash loss of approximately $20 million dollars. This loss will be excluded from our adjusted net income in our third quarter results. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will continue to operate Celebrity Century until April 2015.

Celebrity Century Sold To Chinese Operator - Ctrip"Since its inaugural sailing, Celebrity Century has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to the Chinese cruise market," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "The vessel's sale is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Ctrip, and will generate strong value for both companies' shareholders."

Celebrity Century will complete its scheduled sailings through the March 22, 2015, itinerary. The 15-night, Dubai to Rome sailing on April 5, 2015 is being redeployed to a 14-night sailing from Dubai to Singapore. Guests with affected individual bookings and named group bookings on Celebrity Century's April 5, 2015 sailing from Dubai to Rome have the option to either cancel their booking and receive a full refund or move to an alternative sailing and receive a re-accommodation onboard credit as well as compensation to cover air change fees. Guests with reservations affected by the transition will be proactively contacted by Celebrity Cruises. Guests and Travel Agents with specific questions are welcome to call 1-888-283-7275.

Celebrity Century joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in December 1995, and was built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. The 71,545-ton ship carries 1,814 guests (double occupancy) and 860 crew.

"China is becoming one of the largest cruise markets in the world," said Min Fan, Vice Chairman of the Board and President of Ctrip. "As the largest cruise agency in China, Ctrip has sent over 120,000 guests to cruise trips so far and acquired more than 10% of market share in China. We are excited about the strong growth of the cruise industry and strive to strengthen our leadership in this market.

"We are thrilled about our acquisition of Celebrity Century, which is one of the top-tier vessels in the world," Min Fan continued," Century will be renovated to provide an outstanding cruise experience to China's leisure travelers, including premium hotel services, diversified dining options, exciting on-board facilities, varieties of entertainments, and inspiring excursions and tours. Ctrip will capitalize on our strong brand, large customer base, and superior service quality, as well as our partner's extensive cruise operating experience to generate great value to our customers and shareholders."

Carnival Liberty to San Juan; Carnival Valor to Port Canaveral
Carnival Liberty to San Juan; Carnival Valor to Port CanaveralBeginning in March 2015, the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Valor will swap homeports with the Carnival Liberty shifting to San Juan to operate year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises, a program currently operated by Carnival Valor.  At the same time, Carnival Valor will shift to Port Canaveral to take over Carnival Liberty’s program of five to eight-day year-round Caribbean cruises.

Carnival Liberty’s San Juan-based schedule kicks off March 29, 2015, with an itinerary featuring day-long visits to six tropical destinations:  St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten, each featuring gorgeous beaches, a distinctive island ambiance and a variety of water sports.

Carnival Valor will launch a five- to eight-day schedule from Port Canaveral March 27, 2015.  Five-day cruises call at Nassau, Freeport and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay or Key West, while seven-day Caribbean voyages visit Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya or St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau. Two different eight-day itineraries will be offered – one featuring Grand Turk, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and San Juan, and another calling at Aruba, Curacao or Bonaire, and Grand Turk.

Carnival Valor and Carnival Liberty will also operate two special voyages in March 2015 in preparation for their new homeport deployments.   Carnival Liberty will offer a four-port, seven-day voyage from Port Canaveral to San Juan March 22-29, 2015, calling at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and Tortola.  Carnival Valor will offer a one-time five-day voyage departing San Juan March 22 and arriving in Port Canaveral March 27, 2015, featuring visits to St. Maarten and St. Thomas.

“We periodically move ships around to keep the product fresh in different markets and both Carnival Liberty and Carnival Valor offer a wide variety of fantastic features and an enticing array of itineraries for our guests to enjoy,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Princess Unveils Hip Night Sky Lounge Aboard Regal Princess
Princess Unveils Hip Night Sky Lounge Aboard Regal PrincessA new, cool nighttime experience will debut on Regal Princess in November, enabling guests to enjoy a chic and contemporary outdoor nightclub under the stars. The new nightclub, Night Sky Lounge, will debut in November when the ship begins her inaugural Caribbean season.

The top-deck Retreat Pool will transform into the new Night Sky Lounge one night during each cruise, inviting guests to enjoy an upbeat and modern, South Miami-style nightclub vibe, including atmospheric pool and furniture lighting, glowing drinks and a DJ spinning tunes on a state-of-the-art audio system. Cruise guests will sip sophisticated cocktails, even in the two Jacuzzis, enjoy a flair bartending demonstration, dance the night away, and can even reserve a cabana with hosted bottle service.

“The Retreat Pool aboard Regal Princess is such an inviting space, and so transforming it into a cool lounge that offers an entirely new evening experience will be sure to delight our guests,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “We think the lounge’s great location, beautiful lighting, specialty cocktails and music will be a winning entertainment experience.”

Guests will pay a nominal charge to enter the Night Sky Lounge.

Regal Princess begins her Caribbean cruise season on November 6 with a short preview sailing, followed by a schedule of seven-day cruises to ports in the Eastern Caribbean including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays in the Bahamas.

Mississippi Resident Sails on 33 Consecutive Voyages on Carnival Elation
Mississippi Resident Sails on 33 Consecutive Voyages on Carnival ElationTalk about back-to-back cruises! Mark Fosselman of Diamond Head, Miss., recently debarked the Carnival Elation after 33 consecutive voyages totaling a whopping 270 cruise days.  It’s believed to be the longest streak of consecutive cruise days in Carnival Cruise Lines’ 42-year history.

Fosselman boarded the Carnival Elation in New Orleans for his first cruise in April and sailed 32 additional four- and five-day cruises, visiting the Mexican ports of Cozumel and Progreso dozens of times during that period.

Carnival Elation has a special place in Fosselman’s heart as he and his wife, Becky, sailed on the ship numerous times over the past few years, even after she became ill and was unable to walk or talk.  Fosselman said his wife loved sailing with Carnival and believed that the cruises contributed greatly to her quality of life despite her declining health.

After his wife passed away in April 2014, Fosselman decided to return to the ship that brought them so many wonderful memories, boarding Carnival Elation for the first of 33 consecutive voyages later that month. Fosselman believes that cruising was very therapeutic following his wife’s passing and the Carnival Elation’s staff went above and beyond in providing much-needed support and assistance during this challenging period in his life.

When Fosselman debarked the ship after 33 consecutive voyages and 270 days overall on board, the Carnival Elation staff warmly greeted him in the ship’s atrium and held a special farewell reception that included a banner created especially for the occasion.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 37.95 + 0.40%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 64.37 + 1.12%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.90 - 3.97%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 36.99 + 9.47%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
American Export Lines operated a quartet of popular combination ships following the Second World War. The ships were known as the "Four Aces". What were the names of these ships.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - When is a Sapphire Princess not a Sapphire Princess? The current Sapphire Princess sailing for Princess Cruises had a different name when construction started. What was her original name and why did it have to be changed.

Answer - Sapphire was actually the Diamond Princess. There was a fire during construction, so they re-named it to keep on schedule.
courtesy of Monika Best


Cruise News - August 25 2014

Quantum of the Seas To Debut New Technology
Tech-savvy modern travelers will be wowed by Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, which incorporates unprecedented levels of technology to amp up the vacation experience.

"Cruise vacations have a romantic past – but they also have a lively, adventurous, state-of-the-art future," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "We were determined to take the best advances in modern technology, turn them into shipboard WOWs, and take the frustration out of the vacation. This ship's combination of ease and flexibility would make a yoga instructor proud."

Boatloads of bandwidth keep guests connected; easy-to-use systems expand guest choices and simplify schedules; and RFID technology speeds the boarding process and allows guests to keep track of their luggage every step of the way.

Altogether, customer-centered technology makes Quantum of the Seas six kinds of SMART:

SMART Check-In: From sidewalk to ship in record time
A Quantum vacation begins at home, where guests can generate boarding documents online, upload their own ID photo, and receive digital boarding confirmation. By the time they arrive at the cruise terminal for departure, Royal Caribbean guests can go from "sidewalk to ship" in 10 minutes with no check-in counter, no forms to fill out and no lines to stand in.

Guests will be able to track luggage in real time on their smartphones.Guests will be able to track luggage in real time on their smartphones. Luggage will be tagged curbside with RFID technology at drop-off, and guests can monitor their bags' progress through key points en route to the stateroom. On departure, the process is reversed.

SMART Concierge: Flexibility at your fingertips
Quantum of the Seas will offer new RFID WOWband wristbands, which require only a simple tap to quickly navigate the ship, make onboard purchases, serve as the room key and more.

Simplicity and efficiency are also at the heart of two new apps that put guests in charge of their cruise choices: Cruise Planner, which allows guests to research and book dining reservations, shore excursions, spa appointments and more before their vacation begins; and Royal iQ, available as a downloadable app and provided at freestanding iQ stations around the ship. Royal iQ allows guests to manage details during the cruise, includes a convenient calendar that provides at-a-glance views of their program, and keep in touch with one another and home via phone and text capabilities.

"Every vacation minute counts, especially on Quantum of the Seas where there is so much to see and do," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International. "Guests can now tailor everything about their cruise in advance, so they can start enjoying their vacation the minute they step onboard. In essence, they get back the first day of their cruise."

Taken together, these features take the company's time-saving efforts to a new level," Lutoff-Perlo said. "Every minute we can save our guests is another minute of their vacation they have to enjoy."

SMART Connect: Downloads at the speed of modern life
Quantum of the Seas will operate with unprecedented bandwidth using satellites launched by tech partner O3b Networks. With speeds that match fast broadband connections onshore, guests can be online 24/7, no matter what personal device they bring onboard. Guests can watch streaming video, check email, share images on social media and enjoy face-to-face video conversations – even in the middle of the ocean.

"Even when they are getting away from it all on vacation, people want to be able to connect," said Lutoff-Perlo. "Our satellite network will make things possible at sea that could never have been done before, and will make all the difference in the way guests share their Royal Caribbean experience."

In addition, Quantum's connectivity makes it possible for one of the SeaPods in SeaPlex to become a live global video gaming suite where guests can enjoy Xbox Live and compete with other gamers worldwide.

SMART Experiences: Shaking martinis and spinning screens
Technology also powers surprise-and-delight elements on Quantum of the Seas. A brand new venue, Bionic Bar, is set to make waves with robots at center stage. Guests place orders via tablets and then have fun watching robotic bartenders hard at work mixing cocktails.

Two70 is home to a playful and agile troupe of six Roboscreens that stage surprise performances during every cruiseRobots drive another entertaining feature on Quantum of the Seas. Two70 is home to a playful and agile troupe of six Roboscreens that stage surprise performances during every cruise, creating scenes while soaring and twisting solo, or uniting as one. Guests will also experience Vistarama, floor-to-ceiling glass walls that transform into an expansive ambient surface that projects any scene, real or imagined, including the multidimensional performance spectacle, Starwater.

Quantum of the Seas will take advantage of technology in functional forms as well. Guest staterooms are equipped with device-charging USB outlets, as well as energy efficient and environmentally friendly lighting systems. Interior accommodations are outfitted with Virtual Balconies that display real-time sights and sounds of the sea through 80-inch LED screens, ensuring every stateroom has a view.

SMART Service: Crew can connect better with guests – and with home
The technology benefits of Quantum of the Seas extend to the ship's crew. Custom apps will allow crew members to keep better track of guests' tastes and preferences, allowing staff to tailor their already remarkably personalized service to an even higher degree. Whether a guest prefers gluten-free dining, early show seating, or shiatsu massage, the features of the smart ship allow crew members to anticipate every need.

And the ship's remarkable capabilities give the company an opportunity to make life better for crew members too, since Royal Caribbean will present every crew member on Quantum of the Seas with a free, personal Microsoft Windows tablet, with a suite of services and apps that is theirs to keep. And as technology upgrades are made across the company's fleet, every shipboard employee in the entire Royal Caribbean International fleet will also receive their own tablet – a total of 40,000 tablets.

"The Royal Caribbean men and women who provide such great vacations are the real heroes of our fleet and these gifts demonstrate our appreciation in a tangible way," Fain said. "This technology isn't only about giving our guests a better vacation – it's also about giving our crew and their families a closer connection than we've ever been able to"

SMART Sustainability: Cleaner and greener
Technology has even played a part in making the ship more environmentally friendly. Sophisticated computer modeling was used to reduce the vessel's energy consumption with efficient hull configuration, engine design and energy saving devices. The ship has eliminated the use of incandescent bulbs; all lighting will be provided by low-energy LED or fluorescents. Motion sensors even dim hallway lighting when no one is present.

The Quantum Class spans 18 decks, encompasses 167,800 gross registered tons, carries 4,180 guests at double occupancy and features 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries.

Keel Laid for Holland America Line's New 2,650-Guest Pinnacle Class Vessel
Keel Laid for Holland America Line's New 2,650-Guest Pinnacle Class VesselHolland America Line celebrated the keel laying of its new 2,650-guest Pinnacle Class ship on Aug. 22 at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. A 680-ton block was lowered by crane into the yard's building dock, marking the official beginning of construction. The 99,500-gross-ton ship is scheduled for delivery in February 2016.

The event was attended by Holland America Line's Keith Taylor, senior vice president, fleet operations and Cyril Tatar, vice president, newbuild and technical operations.

"The keel laying of our new Pinnacle Class vessel heightens the anticipation for delivery because very soon we'll see the ship begin to take shape," said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. "As the largest ship ever built for Holland America Line, the vessel features many innovations and new features, and we're excited to see it all come together over the next year and a half."

The ship will showcase decors by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, based in New York City, and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten, based in Oslo, Norway.

Cunard Line to Explore New Territories in World Cruising with 2016
Cunard announced its 2016 World and Exotic Cruise Program this week. The Program will feature three World and Exotic Cruises with options ranging from four to 121 days aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. The fleet will be travelling to 92 unique destinations, including 32 maiden calls, in 47 countries.

Cunard Line to Explore New Territories in World Cruising with 2016“Since 1922, Cunard has carried on the tradition of creating luxurious and memorable adventures for travellers seeking a unique view of the world through our World Voyage Program,” said David Dingle, CEO for Cunard Line. “Cunard has embarked on more circumnavigations than any other cruise line, all the while gaining a reputation for continuously providing guests with a world-class experience. We look forward to a fantastic year at sea with new and returning guests.”

Cunard initiated the world cruise concept in 1922, and in 2016 the company will celebrate 94 years of carrying more passengers around the globe than any other cruise line. Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will depart Southampton together on 10 January 2016 and will all return from their respective World Cruises on 10 May 2016.

Queen Mary 2
For the first time since 2009, Queen Mary 2 will embark on a full circumnavigation, with eight maiden calls during her 120-night westbound voyage via South America and the Suez Canal. She will visit 38 ports of call in 26 countries, travelling more than 41,000 nautical miles.

Destination highlights include her first crossing of the South Pacific, featuring a sail-by of Easter Island and visits to the Polynesian paradise islands of Papeete and Moorea. Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to take in breathtaking views of Beagle Channel and Magellan Straits when sailing around Cape Horn. Queen Mary 2 will also travel through the iconic Suez Canal.

Overnight calls will include Rio de Janeiro, Punta del Este, Sydney and Dubai.

Segment cruises provide guests the chance to enjoy Cunard Line’s one-of-a-kind World Cruise experience within a shorter time frame. In 2016, Queen Mary 2 Segment voyages will range from seven to 22 days and include:
• 22-day Valparaiso to Sydney
• 22-day Dubai to Southampton
• 20-day Hong Kong to Dubai
• 18-day Sydney to Hong Kong
• 16-day New York to Rio de Janeiro
• 16-day Brisbane to Hong Kong
• 15-day Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso
• 13-day Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro
• 11-day Singapore to Dubai
• 10-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
• 9-day Hong Kong to Singapore
• 7-day Southampton to New York

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria offers guests the opportunity to experience the classic World Voyage – a westbound circumnavigation of the globe with nine maiden calls during its 120-night exploration. Visiting 37 ports of call in 22 countries, Queen Victoria will sail more than 40,000 nautical miles over the course of her journey. She will pass through the iconic Panama Canal, as well as provide scenic cruising in Milford Sound, part of New Zealand’s incredible Fjordland national park.

Queen Victoria’s overnight calls will include San Francisco, Sydney and Cape Town.

Her Exotic Cruise Segments will range from four to 24 days and include:
• 24-day Hong Kong to Cape Town
• 21-day San Francisco to Sydney
• 21-day Sydney to Hong Kong
• 18-day Cape Town to Southampton
• 16-day Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco
• 12-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale
• 8-day Round trip Sydney
• 4-day Hong Kong to Singapore

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth will embark on a 121-night voyage that spans 42 ports of call in 25 countries during its East-West sail through destinations in the Far East and Asia. A comprehensive immersion experience that includes 15 maiden calls, the Queen Elizabeth World Cruise will explore the ancient cultures of Japan, Korea and China as well as Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines over the course of 36,000 nautical miles.

Her visit to Japan is perfectly timed to give guests the best chance to see the breathtaking cherry trees in full bloom. Destination highlights also include a transit through the Suez Canal and the Dardanelles, where guests may visit the historic sites of Aqaba and Istanbul.

Her overnight calls will include Cape Town (double overnight), Sydney and Singapore.

Segment voyages aboard Queen Elizabeth will range from five to 25 days and include:
• 25-day Cape Town to Sydney
• 23-day Dubai to Southampton
• 18-day Sydney to Hong Kong
• 18-day Hong Kong to Dubai
• 17-day Southampton to Cape Town
• 15-day Yokohama to Singapore
• 13-day Singapore to Dubai
• 12-day Hong Kong to Osaka
• 10-day Hong Kong to Yokohama
• 10-day Yokohama to Hong Kong
• 8-day Osaka to Hong Kong
• 5-day Hong Kong to Singapore

Crystal Invites Travelers To Sleep In - Without Missing The Adventure
The need to choose between catching up on much needed sleep and embarking on a great adventure while on vacation is no more. This fall, in an industry first, Crystal Cruises will debut new Crystal Adventures planned especially for late-risers, offering the same enriching experiences in the world's most stunning and significant destinations, beginning later in the day.

Crystal Invites Travelers To Sleep In - Without Missing The AdventureWith the line's excursions typically departing the ship within 30-60 minutes of docking or tendering – as early as 8:00 a.m. -- the new "Late-Risers Adventures" will begin closer to 11:00 a.m. or noon, depending on the itinerary. The start times are designed to complement the line's Late-Risers Breakfasts, served from 10:00-11:30 a.m. on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.

"There are so many distinctly different types of travelers, each with their own idea of the perfect vacation. For many, this involves plenty of rest and relaxation," says Crystal President Edie Rodriguez. "The 'Late-Risers Adventures' allow guests who prefer more sleep in the morning, are perhaps still adjusting to a time change, or simply like to enjoy a long, leisurely breakfast, to keep their preferred schedule without missing out on any of the insightful, expertly crafted Crystal Adventures in a select destination."

The new, later excursions will be offered beginning with Crystal Serenity's September 19 Boston-Québec sailing, and on Crystal Symphony's September 27 Hamburg-Lisbon sailing. Examples of adventures with later start times include:

• A glimpse into the eclectic culture of Oporto, Portugal, including the elaborate Cathedral of Oporto – once a Gothic church, now an important Baroque structure, and the 19th-century Stock Exchange Palace, blending Arab and European influences, plus a visit to a port wine cellar for tasting among the oak casts and barrels.

• Taking in Amsterdam's most notable sites from some of the 100 canals within the city, including the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and countless gabled houses, merchants' mansions and centuries-old carillon-crowned churches.

• Such famed Boston highlights as the Navy Yard, home to "Old Ironsides," the world's oldest commissioned naval ship afloat; Boston Common, America's oldest public park; the Freedom Trail and the pre-Revolutionary Old State House.

The "Late-Risers" tours will be available on select Crystal itineraries throughout the world, which range from 5-108 days and sail through the Mediterranean, Western Europe, British Isles, Scandinavia/Baltic & Russia, North Cape & Arctic Circle, Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, South America, Antarctica, New England/Canada, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and an indulgent annual World Cruise.

Celebrity Cruises Introduces Immersive Luxury Vacations with the Launch of "Celebrity Explorations"
Recognizing the growing trend toward extended vacations and answering the demand from guests, Celebrity Cruises today unveiled "Celebrity Explorations" – unique vacations that pair ocean cruises with deep, immersive destination experiences on land.

Celebrity's well-traveled destination experts have uncovered the most authentic experiences in each destination and cultivated relationships with local experts to deliver more than 20 different one-of-a-kind Celebrity Explorations, with more to be revealed this year. Vacationers can combine an ocean cruise with several days of extensive and fully-guided tours, exhilarating excursions and indulgent hotels – minus the stress of planning.

Celebrity Cruises Introduces Immersive Luxury Vacations with the Launch of Celebrity ExplorationsGuests can now pair an exciting safari in Africa's greatest wildlife reserves with a cruise to the Iberian Peninsula or journey down the Amazon River on a luxury custom-built riverboat with floor-to-ceiling picture windows before setting sail on a modern, luxurious Celebrity ship for a thrilling Antarctic cruise. Additional Celebrity Explorations that offer memorable insight into the sights, flavors, culture and history of destinations include vacations that combine the vibrancy of Sydney, Australia with unforgettable cruises in the South Pacific.

"As a modern luxury vacation company, we are in the business of providing outstanding vacation experiences and have been doing so for nearly 25 years," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "With the introduction of Celebrity Explorations, we are giving our guests more of what they value and expect from Celebrity – authentic, immersive and upscale vacation experiences that combine luxury hotels, guided tours by our destination concierges and the best in local dining with a unique selection of ocean cruises and more. Our new style of travel pairs two exceptional vacations in one – and both have been perfectly planned down to the very last detail to create one exhilarating vacation."

Highlights from the collection of Celebrity Explorations, ranging from 11 to 22 nights, include:

• Sydney & the South Pacific – Guests can indulge in the Land Down Under with three nights in a luxury hotel in Sydney, Australia, combined with exciting tours that take in the must-see highlights of the city - including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach, plus a magical dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour. Vacationers can then choose from an array of destination-rich Celebrity cruises sailing through the South Pacific aboard Celebrity Solstice.
*Available for select sailings departing Jan. 18 – March 22, 2015 and Oct. 21, 2015 – April 1, 2016

Africa & the Iberian Peninsula – A five-night adventure in Africa begins with five-star hotel in Nairobi, Kenya before heading to an upscale lodge in Lake Nakuru National Park and a luxurious tented camp in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Guests can enjoy three fully escorted expeditions before joining Celebrity Eclipse in Southampton, England to soak up the glorious Iberian sun while sailing for 11 to 14 nights through the Canary Islands.
*Available for sailings departing Aug. 30 - Oct. 21, 2015.

Amazon & the Antarctic, Argentina or Chile – On this customizable 21- to 22-night exploration, vacationers take in the sights and sounds of South America while relaxing in upscale accommodations in Lima, Peru, combined with Buenos Aires, Argentina or Santiago, Chile. Guests then will experience four incredible days of untouched scenery and wildlife while sailing down the Amazon River in a luxurious riverboat chartered exclusively for Celebrity. From here, travelers will embark on a 14- or 15-night modern luxury cruise aboard Celebrity Infinity, visiting inspiring destinations that include Antarctica, Argentina and Chile.
*Available for select itineraries departing Dec. 20, 2015 - Feb. 28, 2016.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 37.80 - 0.16%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 63.66 - 0.08%
Star Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 3.02 + 0.33%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 33.79 + 0.33%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
When is a Sapphire Princess not a Sapphire Princess? The current Sapphire Princess sailing for Princess Cruises had a different name when construction started. What was her original name and why did it have to be changed.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2008@travelpage.com

Last Week's Question - During 1968, the financially troubled Independence was chartered for a series of "pay as you go" cruises during which her exterior was re-painted with a "distinctive/garish" image. What was the image that was painted on the Independence?

Answer - She was painted with a face of Jean Harlow, with attention grabbing eyes. It did not last long!
courtesy of John Nuttall

VACATION & CRUISE SPECIALS
Check out these great deals from CruisePage.com

Royal Caribbean - Bahamas Getaway from $129 per person
Description: Experience the beautiful ports of Nassau and Royal Caribbean's private island - CocoCay on a 3-night Weekend Getaway to the Bahamas. Absorb everything island life has to offer as you snorkel with the stingrays, parasail above the serene blue waters and walk the endless white sand beaches. From Miami.
Carnival - 4-Day Bahamas  from $229 per person
Description: Enjoy a wonderful 3 Day cruise to the fun-loving playground of Nassau, Bahamas. Discover Nassau, the capital city as well as the cultural, commercial and financial heart of the Bahamas. Meet the Atlantic Southern Stingrays, the guardians of Blackbeard's treasure.
NCL - Bermuda - 7 Day from $499 per person
Description: What a charming little chain of islands. Walk on pink sand beaches. Swim and snorkel in turquoise seas. Take in the historical sights. They're stoically British and very quaint. Or explore the coral reefs. You can get to them by boat or propelled by fins. You pick. Freestyle Cruising doesn't tell you where to go or what to do. Sure, you can plan ahead, or decide once onboard. After all, it's your vacation. There are no deadlines or must do's.
Holland America - Eastern Caribbean from From $599 per person
Description: White sand, black sand, talcum soft or shell strewn, the beaches of the Eastern Caribbean invite you to swim, snorkel or simply relax. For shoppers, there's duty-free St. Thomas, the Straw Market in Nassau, French perfume and Dutch chocolates on St. Maarten. For history buffs, the fascinating fusion of Caribbean, Latin and European cultures. For everyone, a day spent on HAL's award winning private island Half Moon Cay.
Celebrity - 7-Night Western Mediterranean  from $549 per person
Description: For centuries people have traveled to Europe to see magnificent ruins, art treasures and natural wonders. And the best way to do so is by cruise ship. Think of it - you pack and unpack only once. No wasted time searching for hotels and negotiating train stations. Instead, you arrive at romantic ports of call relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Holland America - Alaska from From $499 per person
Description: Sail between Vancouver and Seward, departing Sundays on the ms Statendam or ms Volendam and enjoy towering mountains, actively calving glaciers and pristine wildlife habitat. Glacier Bay and College Fjord offer two completely different glacier-viewing experiences.
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